Assam Village Imam declared ‘foreigner’ suspects Conspiracy to drive out Muslims The Making and Re-Making of Indians as Citizens in Assam: A CJP Series

03, Sep 2018 | Deborah Grey

Abdul Kadir is the Imam of the mosque in his village. He is a much loved and highly respectable member of his community. People look up to him for his wisdom and good counsel. However, now both, he and his wife Hamida Khatoon have been declared foreigners by a Foreigner’s Tribunal. Moreover, all his children have also been declared foreigners.


Abdul Kadir was born and raised in Solmari village located in Morigaon district of Assam. “My family discovered my ability to understand and memorise religious scripture at an early age and invested in my religious education,” recalls Kadir. Kadir proved them right when he rose quickly among the Islamic clergy and became the Imam of their village mosque. “It is a huge responsibility, but also very satisfying to guide people through the ups and downs in their lives and make sure they do not venture away from the path of good,” says the 57 year old.

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But trouble began in 2017 when the Superintendent of the Border Police referred names of Kadir and Hamida to the Foreigners’ Tribunal in Morigaon stating that they were Bangladeshi. While both produced multiple documents including revenue receipts, land sale deeds, Haj travel documents and even names in electoral rolls, the FT was not satisfied and passed an order declaring them foreigners in November 2017.


The FT admitted that the documents submitted belonged to Kadir’s father Miya Box, but the tribunal was not satisfied because they felt that Kadir was not able to prove linkage to his father. They also found it strange that he was unable to produce the death certificates of his parents Miya Box and Amir Jan Bibi. The FT also noted that Kadir was unable to prove his linkage to men he claimed were his brothers, A. Rob and A. Halim, in any satisfactory manner. Similarly the FT noted that Hamida was unable to prove her links to her father Monchur Ali and mother Jeleka. It also ruled that the other documents belonging to the period prior to March 25, 1971 were not sufficient to prove any linkage for either Kadir or his wife.

Interestingly the FT Order contains an address in MoimanSing, Bangladesh for the family, but Kadir has never been there! “I rarely even leave my village. I have never left the country! How did they come up with an address in Bangladesh,” we wonders. “My name appears in the Voters’ Lists of 1985, 1989, 1993, 1997 and 2017, as does my wife’s. As and when children attained majority their names were also added,” says Kadir.

Here are names of the family in the local electoral rolls of 2017. The copy is certified and stamped and gives ages of all members of the family:

While the family managed to secure bail from the Gauhati High Court, Hamida is still under tremendous stress and finds it difficult to eat. Meanwhile, Kadir feels they might be targeted because of their religion. “It is a conspiracy to drive out Muslims,” feels Kadir. A deeply philosophical man, he ends on a humane note saying, “Insaaniyat se insaan insaan hai. Jisme insaaniyat nahi, vo haivan hai (Humanity makes us human, otherwise we are all the devil’s spawn).”


Also Read:

The Curious Case of Syamlal Ali

Assam man forced to prove Indian citizenship four times!

Pregnant and Helpless in a Detention Camp

8 year old boy served Doubtful Voter notice in Assam

Submit Detailed Report on District-wise Exclusions from NRC: SC


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