CJP answers a widow’s wail in Assam Working to release mistakenly jailed woman and her son from Detention Camp

13, Sep 2019 | CJP Team

In a shocking case of mistaken identity, Khatimun Nessa, an elderly widow, was declared foreigner and sent to the Tezpur detention camp. In a double blow to the family, her son Idris Ali was also declared foreigner and incarcerated because of this mistake. So far, both mother and son, have spent three years two months in the Tejpur Detention Camp! CJP is now stepping in to secure their release.

Their misfortune began when Khatimun Nessa was mistaken to be one Kazali Begum. It appears both women have a husband named Samar Ali and hail from Roha. According to Khatimun Nessa’s family, the old lady was arrested by showing a notice which was issued in the name of Kazali Begum. Now she has spent three years behind bars for no fault of hers. What’s worse, her son has also had to pay a huge price for this case of mistaken identity.

Now that the final NRC has been published, and 19,06,657 people have been excluded from the final list, CJP’s campaign has become even more focused. Our objective now, 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.

Interestingly, Khatimun Nessa has own legacy documents of 1970 and name in the voter list of 1965. Her name had been included in the voters list of 1971, when she was 24 years old. The document may be viewed here:

Khatimun Nessa’s name in the 1971 Voters List

But in a damning indictment of the system and its absence of checks and balances, her own documents also appear to have been disregarded when she was thrown behind bars!

The detention camp letter also gives the name of the detainee as Kazali Begum and not Khatimun Nessa

This is almost exactly like the plight of 59 year old Madhubala Mondal who was arrested and sent to a detention camp in place of one Madhumala Das.

Khatimun Nessa’s ‘declared foreigner’ status affected the prospects of her son Idris too who was also promptly packed off to the Tezpur detention camp.

The letter from the Detention Camp naming Idris Ali.

Idris has a valid voter ID and did not have any D Voter mark against his name, but because of the provision that considers siblings and family members of declared foreigners to be foreigners themselves until proven otherwise, Idris too had to suffer in captivity.

Idris’s documents may be viewed here:

Photo copy of Idris Ali’s Voter Identification card
NRC legacy record of late Samar Ali who was Idris Ali’s father and Khatimun Nessa’s husband. He was 38 at the time of his name being included in the electoral roll.

After the publication of the final National Register of Citizens (NRC), CJP’s campaign in Assam has taken a more focused approach to help alleviate the humanitarian crisis in the state. We are not only helping people defend their citizenship before Assam’s infamous foreigners’ tribunals, we are also helping people who have completed the stipulated 3 years in a detention camp be released as per a recent Supreme Court order.

Moved by the plight of both mother and son, we are now working towards helping secure their release. “Our local team has been in close touch with the family of Khatimun Nessa and its thanks to their meticulous, twenty four by seven ground work that this case has come to light. We shall do what we can, administratively, or else from Foreigners Tribunals to higher courts to get justice for this family,” said CJP secretary Teesta Setalvad.

But the bigger question is, will this be enough to salve their wounds?

Related:

Final NRC published in Assam

CJP in Assam: The evolution of our campaign to avert a humanitarian crisis

What next for those left out of the NRC?

I would have attempted suicide again had my name been excluded from the NRC: Hassan Ali

CJP trains paralegals to help Indians defend their citizenship

CJP moves SC to defend genuine Citizenship of people in Assam

 

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