CJP Impact: Another woman saved from the spectre of facing statelessness in Assam!  Many marginalised individuals have suffered at the hands of the state, but CJP stands with them to save humanity and safeguard their rights

15, Feb 2023 | CJP Team

In yet another victory, a native of Assam who had been “suspected of being a foreigner” by a Foreigners’ Tribunal (FT) in Goalpara District, Assam, has finally been certified an Indian citizen!

A 68-year-old elderly woman, namely Ajibun Nessa, daughter of Late Abdul Sheikh @ Abdul Rahman and Motijan Bewa @ Buri Pagli Bewa, belonging to the “Goriya Muslim” community was put under the scanner by the state. The Goriya Muslim community has already been identified as the “khilonjia,” or the Assam’s original inhabitants.

Every day of each week, a formidable team of community volunteers, district volunteer motivators and lawyers—CJP’s Team Assam – is providing ready at hand paralegal guidance, counselling and actual legal aid to hundreds of individuals and families paralysed by the citizenship-driven humanitarian crisis in the state. Our boots on the ground approach has ensured that 12,00,000 persons filled their forms to enlist in the NRC (2017-2019) and over the past one year alone we have helped release 52 persons from Assam’s dreaded detention camps. Our intrepid team provides paralegal assistance to, on an average of 72-96 families each month. Our district-level, legal team works on 25 Foreigner Tribunal cases month on month. This ground level data ensures informed interventions by CJP in our Constitutional Courts, the Guwahati High Court and the Supreme Court. Such work is possible because of you, individuals all over India, who believe in this work. Our maxim, Equal Rights for All.  #HelpCJPHelpAssam. Donate NOW!

She was born and raised in the village of Dabpara (Revenue village- Karipara Part 3) in the Matia Revenue circle of the district of Goalpara, Assam.

The case of Ajibun Nessa was referred by the S.I. (Border) of Goalpara, who suspected Ajibun Nessa of being a foreigner because she failed to present any documents during the spot inquiry. Following that, the S.I. (Border) sent the case to Goalpara’s superintendent of police (Border). The S.P. (Border) then submitted the case to the IM (D)T Tribunal for further opinion. Due to the IM(D)T Tribunal bring struck down, this case was referred to Goalpara Foreigners Tribunal No. 2 of case nos. GFT-2/764/22 and GFT-2/765/22, and a notice was issued to Ajibun Nessa.

The charge against victim Ajibun Nessa was that she unlawfully entered India between January 1, 1966 and March 24, 1971 or after March 25, 1971, and has been living there ever since, although this was completely incorrect and unsubstantiated. Even yet, Ajibun, her father Abdul sheikh, and her grandfather Rahamatulla were all born in the village Dabpara (Revenue village- Karipara Part 3) in Matia Revenue circle, District Goalpara, Assam, India.

“I was quite worried after receiving the warning from FT!” said Ajibun as she spoke to the CJP Team. She continued, “The largest detention centre has been established here. People have told me that many elderly women have been jailed and mistreated in various jails. So, this notice kept me awake.”

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“However, I was somewhat relieved when CJP supported my legal battle and treated the situation seriously,” Ajibun added.

Meanwhile, following the death of Abdul Sheikh’s first wife, her father had re-married to Ajibun’s mother, Motijan. Her family has lived a life struggling with poverty. In addition to this, Ajibun’s mother was not completely mentally mature, and that is why her mother was called “Buri pagli ” by the villagers. Thus, the above stated struggles, and various other reasons resulted in Abijun’s childhood being difficult.

She married Abjel Ali, son of Tofik Sheikh of village Bamunpara under Matia police station of Goalpara District Assam, when she was about 21 years old.

It is worth noting that Ajiabun possesses sufficient documentation to prove her Indian citizenship at the foreigners’ tribunal. Our advocates submitted Ajibun’s written statement, along with NRC of 1951 that contained the name of her father, grandmother, and step mother before the Foreigner’s Tribunal. The CJP legal team further submitted a purchase deed dated May 6,1954 and a copy of Khatian of Tea Estate dated November 29, 1961, both of which were in the name of her father, along with a certified copy of the voter list of the years 1966, 1971, 1979, 1985, 1997, and others necessary documents.

The two months of hard work put in by the CJP Team concluded with Ajibun Nesha being declared an Indian citizen, in a relatively short amount of time.

Ajibun was delighted when the CJP Team arrived at her house this week with the judgment copy by FT.

She smiled and prayed for the CJP team. “May Allah bless you!” she said. “I pray that CJP continues to fight and support the defenceless individuals in this fight for our rights,” she added. “The government should stop harassing and persecuting poor people in this manner in the name of D!” she added.

The full judgment copy can be read here.


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