What Does ‘Bulldozer Baba’ Do with Seized Lands of Mafias? Expelled Families from Bangladesh Can Tell

The Uttar Pradesh government on Tuesday allotted residential and agricultural plots and houses to 65 Hindu families who had migrated from East Pakistan in 1970. Elaborating on the distribution under CM housing scheme, a state official said that these refugees were then employed at Madan Cotton Mills in Meerut but most of the 300 plus refugees left the city and settled in different parts of the country after the mill was shut in 1984. “Those who stayed back have now been empowered by the Yogi government in a fresh move,” the official added.

Two year ago, the CM Yogi government had started collecting primary data of those expelled from Pakistan and Bangladesh, and living in Uttar Pradesh. Till 2020, over 37,000 Bangladeshi and Pakistani refugees were identified in Pilibhit district. The data was being collected to grant them Indian citizenship under the citizenship act.

Reports said that the refugees were rehabilitated in Pilibhit’s Ramnagar area between 1962 and 1964 under then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, and were promised to be given permanent citizenship. Henceforth, the process to granting citizenship was initiated on several occasions but none of them got it. Ever since the Citizenship Amendment Act was passed, they have been hopeful of getting benefits by the Indian government.

Earlier, in January too, before returning as UP’s chief minister, Yogi Adityanath had announced that his government has accommodated the expelled Hindus from Pakistan and Bangladesh in the land that the state government freed from encroachers.

Speaking at an event in Lucknow, Yogi had said, “Hindus, who were living in Meerut for decades after facing expulsion from Pakistan and Bangladesh, could not afford to build their own houses or buy lands. We have given 63 such Bengali Hindu families two acres of land and 200 square yards for housing per family in Kanpur Dehat. These lands were freed from ‘bhu mafia’ (land grabbers).”

Each of the 63 families was also given ₹1.20 lakh under ‘Mukhyamantri Awas Yojana’, Yogi Adityanath said.

The chief minister said all the land freed from “encroachers” was brought under a ‘land bank’ and these pieces of land would be used to set up schools, industries and other businesses. “Many facilities of the Defence Industrial Corridor have also been built on these recovered lands,” he had said.

CM Yogi Adityanath earned the name of ‘bulldozer baba’ after several illegal encroachments in the state were razed, and the move was linked to the chief minister’s model of governance.

Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Prashant Kumar was earlier quoted by PTI as saying that “bulldozed baba’s” comeback in Uttar Pradesh forced over 50 criminals to surrender. The official stated two criminals were killed in encounters and many others have been arrested during the period.

It has also been reported that visuals of many absconding criminals walking back to police stations with placards hanging around their necks with messages like “I am surrendering, don’t shoot me, please” have been surfacing on social media.

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