26, Nov 2019 | CJP Team
63-year-old Majibur Rahman has just been released from a detention camp in Assam. But the poor man is still clueless as to why he was sent there in the first place.
“My grandfather’s name was included in the 1951 NRC. But I was served notice for being a D-Voter and then declared a ‘foreigner’ by the tribunal,” says Rahman who is a resident of Banduguri village in Bongaigaon district. “I have lived here for the last 40 years. Before this my family and I used to live in Pahartoli-Abhayapuri,” he explains.
Now that the final NRC has been published, and 19,06,657 people have been excluded from the final list, CJP’s objective is to help these excluded people defend their citizenship before Foreigners’ Tribunals. For this we have already started conducting a series of workshops to train paralegals to assist people at FTs. We will also be publishing a multi-media training manual containing simplified aspects of legal procedure, evidentiary rules, and judicial precedents that will ensure the appeals filed against the NRC exclusions in the FTs are comprehensive and sound, both in fact and in law. This will assist our paralegals, lawyers and the wider community in Assam to negotiate this tortuous process. For this we need your continued support. Please donate now to help us help Assam.
Rahman’s father Abdul Sattar’s name appears in the voters lists of 1966 and 1970. His grandfather Abdul Hamid also has land patta documents from 1958. His documents may be viewed here:
Rahman’s family is economically weak and he and some of his family members had to leave home and go to Delhi in search of work. It is during that period that he was served a D-Voter notice. CJP’s Volunteer Motivator Abul Kalam Azad explains, “Rahman could not respond to the notice until he returned, and it was because of this delay that he was taken to the police station upon his return.”
The confusion arose because Rahman was registered as living in Assam, but was away in Delhi when the police came to verify his identity. They therefore concluded that there was a discrepancy in his identity and address, wondering if he was indeed a resident citizen. Rahman moved from pillar to post and tried his best to defend his citizenship, but alas he was declared foreigner and sent to the Goalpara detention camp.
“The food was of a poor quality and my health deteriorated significantly during the course of my incarceration,” says Rahman of his days spent at the detention camp. But his days behind bars came to an end on November 20, 2019 and Rahman stepped out of captivity at 10 PM when he was released on bail.
Rahman’s name was excluded from the NRC, as were the names of his family members. CJP is now helping the family defend their citizenship.