Assam Police asks retired Army personnel to prove Indian citizenship

Mohd Azmal Hoque

A foreigners' tribunal, set up by the Assam government to identify illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, has sent a notice to Kamrup-based Azmal Haque, who retired as a JCO last year after serving the Army for 30 years, asking him to prove his Indian citizenship.

The Foreigners' Tribunal No 2 located at Boko under Kamrup district in Assam has issued a notice to Ajmal Haque and said that he was accused of illegally entering Assam without any valid document after March 25, 1971.

"After 30 years of service I have to face such insult.If I were an illegal Bangladeshi, how could have I serve the Indian army?".

Haque, who lives in Chayyagaon, 70 km from Guwahati, received a notice in September from the foreigner's tribunal, according to reports. He has been asked to appear in the local tribunal on October 13 and provide documents to prove that he is an Indian citizen. He had received a similar notice in 2012 too, then he had submitted all the documents in the tribunal court and the court has declared him Indian citizen. There have been allegations that genuine Indian citizens are often harassed by police and other law enforcing agencies in the name of detecting illegal foreigners.

Hoque joined the Indian Army as a mechanical engineer in September 1986 and held the position of a Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) when he retired in September 2016.

Earlier in 2012 Haque was accused of being an illegal immigrant in 2012 by Foreigns' Tribunal. His mother's name was there in 1951 National Register of Citizens (NRC).

One of his sons is also studying at the Rashtriya Indian Military College in Dehradun.

Bangladeshi immigration is a sensitive issue in this northern state.

The Assam Director General of Police Mukesh Sahay told the media, "I will look into the matter and see why a notice has been served". "But it pains me when my daughter questions me if this is how the country treats those who serve it for so many years", he said. At present around 200,000 cases are pending in the foreigners tribunals.

The BJP-led Assam Government is now working on a mega project to update the National Register of Citizenship, which is expected to end the issue of "D" voters.

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