CJP Impact: Another elderly couple rejoice as their citizenship is restored with CJP’s help Ailing couple forced to face Tribunal monthly on suspicion of being foreigners without due process; CJP restores their dignity and citizenship

09, Jul 2024 | CJP Team

An elderly couple from Assam, Mazam Ali and Saleya Bibi have finally found relief after their citizenship was reinstated with the assistance of Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP). The couple had been subjected to the torment of appearing before a Foreigners Tribunal every month due to mere suspicion of being illegal immigrants who entered India before 1971.

Their struggles began when the Agomani Border Branch police served them a notice from the 10th Foreigners Tribunal of Dhubri. Mazam is a disabled and elderly man and was unable to work as he used to and his wife Saleya who constantly worried for their family, found their peace and livelihood under threat. The family of seven faced yet another major hardship added to their existing troubles.

Every week, CJP’s dedicated team in Assam, comprising community volunteers, district volunteer motivators, and lawyers, provides vital paralegal support, counseling, and legal aid to many affected by the citizenship crisis in over 24 districts in Assam.  Through our hands-on approach, 12,00,000 people successfully submitted completed NRC forms (2017-2019). We fight Foreigner Tribunal cases monthly at the district level.  Through these concerted efforts, we have achieved an impressive success rate of 20 cases annually, with individuals successfully obtaining their Indian citizenship. This ground level data ensures informed interventions by CJP in our Constitutional Courts. Your support fuels this crucial work. Stand with us for Equal Rights for All #HelpCJPHelpAssam. Donate NOW!

Mazam’s father’s name was Bhuttu Sk and he was a government employee and a permanent resident of Ramraikuti village, which falls under the Agomani police station near the India-Bangladesh border. Bhuttu’s name was recorded in the 1951 NRC, and he even voted in the 1966 elections and continued to do so until his death. Mazam himself has been a voter in the Golokganj Assembly Constituency since his name was first put in the voting list.

His wife Saleya was born and raised in Jhaskal village, also under the Agomani police station. Her parents were permanent residents of Assam, and their names appeared in the 1966 voter list. Saleya married Mazam and their names were recorded in the 1985 voter list. Later she was married to Mazam Ali from a nearby village and their name was also recorded in the 1985 voter list.

Despite their parents documented voting history in their village Mazam and Saleya were arbitrarily labelled as ‘illegal foreigners’ and the couple also states that the authorities did not follow any due process when issuing the notice. The Reference Authority has on the other hand claimed that that an inquiry was conducted and the couple failed to provide sufficient documents to support their identity, which is why the case was referred to a tribunal. However, Mazam and Saleya denied any such visit or inquiry, telling CJP, “No one had visited or met us related to this issue.”

Mazam Ali has a hearing impairment and Saleya Bibi’s health is crushed by the stress and uncertainty of the entire process. Team CJP helped the couple in every step and motivated them to fight for justice. The team’s state in charge, Nanda Ghosh says after this success, “Our frequent interaction and sharing their life has made us one of them, like we part of their family.” In fact, on the day that the team handed over the judgement copy Saleya asked, “Who will I share things with now? Will you even come again?’

CJP Team with Saleya Bibi and Mazam Ali outside their home

The long battle for justice concluded with CJP’s state in charge Nanda Ghosh, Dhubri DVM Habibul Bepari, Dhubri District legal team member Advocate Ishkendar Azad, and Asikul Hussain arrive at the couple’s home to deliver the happy news and judgement copies in the last week of June, 2024.

The CJP team visits the couple to deliver the order

 The case was a challenging case, especially for getting documents. Mazam, who attended a school that relocated multiple times, had no documents from his school days. Saleya too who never attended school due to poverty and marrying at an early age, found it difficult to get documentation. However, the couple and the team’s strength and perseverance helped them succeed.

A long battle for justice came to end, but for CJP the battle continues. The process of documentation and finding certificates between parents and children that can prove one’s citizenship is always a tough challenge for team CJP.

CJP’s work has been a beacon of hope for many in Assam and the team has been tirelessly working to safeguard the rights of marginalised communities. Their efforts have led to the release of over 51 people who were wrongfully detained under suspicion of being illegal immigrants. From giving legal assistance, documents support, and counselling to those entangled in the complex and often unjust processes, the team goes above and beyond to help people on ground.

The orders may be read here:




Victory! One more Indian gets their citizenship back with the help of CJP!

CJP Assam: Standing strong come hail, come storm

 Frequently Asked Questions: Understanding the Citizenship Crisis in Assam

From Fear to Freedom: Sader & Molina’s Citizenship Journey in Assam


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