10, Aug 2021 | CJP Team
We had brought you the story of Fazar Ali, a man who attempted suicide by plunging into the Brahmaputra upon learning he had been declared foreigner by a Foreigners’ Tribunal (FT) in Assam. In a cruel twist of fate, though he was rescued from drowning and admitted to a hospital, the police arrested him from there and took him to a detention camp. While he was behind bars, his wife Kamala gave birth to their son Jahangir Alom. But Fazar Ali had not been able to see his newborn son’s face… until now. On August 9, CJP helped Fazar Ali walk out of Goalpara detention camp and reunite with his family.
“I lost two years of my life in that wretched place,” said Fazar Ali upon being released. Eager to pay it forward he further said, “I hope CJP can help others like me. There are people who have been rotting there for as long as five years!”
His infant son who had never seen him before just stared at him, even as his wife Kamala Khatoon expressed gratitude, “It is because of CJP that my husband has come back home. I cannot thank you enough.”
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 41 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!
Brief background of the case
Fazar Ali, son of Rustam Ali of Khutamari village under Goalpara District, was a daily wage labourer. He was working in Delhi at the time his case came up at the Goalpara Foreigners’ Tribunal (FT). His older sister tells us, “He attended five hearings and after that returned to his job in Delhi. He became ill and could not come back for the subsequent hearings.”
The FT ruled that Fazar Ali had failed to prove his citizenship despite being given several opportunities, and his abstentions from hearings also did not bode well for his case. This despite Fazar Ali submitting his NRC legacy data as well as copies of his name in the Voters’ List.
The FT order and Fazar Ali’s documents may be viewed here:
When the FT declared him a foreigner, Fazar Ali found it difficult to cope with his predicament. When he returned home, the Border Police came to arrest him and he went into hiding. His sister says, “He was driven to the edge of insanity by the FT ruling. Unable to figure a way out, he decided to end his life and jumped into the river.”
But fate had something else in store for him. He was rescued from drowning and taken to a hospital. There the police arrested him and took him to the Goalpara detention camp where he has been lodged since August 5, 2019.
CJP steps in
“Fazar Ali’s name was in the list of detainees we had accessed. Additionally, when we had worked to release Gopal Mandal and Abdul Sheikh, they too had told us about Fazar Ali. We met him when we visited the Goalpara detention camp earlier this year,” says CJP Assam state team in-charge Nanda Ghosh.
Under Ghosh’s guidance the team comprising Goalpara District Volunteer Motivators (DVM) Rashminara Begum and Zesmin Sultana, as well as legal team member Ashim Mubarak assembled and got to work.
“When we visited the area, we found how the river Brahmaputra flowed on one side of the road, while there was a hill on the other side. Fazar Ali’s house was located on top of the hill. We navigated this journey amidst a heavy downpour, but when we reached the top, it turned out that the house was vacant,” says Nanda Ghosh. Fazar Ali’s sister who lives next door told the CJP team that since his wife was all alone, she went to live with her natal family in Panbari village in Dhubri district. So, nobody had lived in that house for close to two years.
“We realized we needed to make a few more visits to this area in order to get a suitable bailor for Fazar Ali and took help from a local youth named Azmir Mollah who helped organise meetings with 23 potential bailors, all of whom had land documents like Medi Patta. The meetings took place in three separate locations bearing in mind Covid related social distancing protocols,” informs Ghosh.
After we found a bailor, we started the process of having their documents verified. These were also scrutinized by the office of the Superintendent of Police (Border). “There was a minor discrepancy in a 1997 document that caused a delay. But on August 9, we were finally able to resolve all issues and managed to get a letter from the Superintendent of the Goalpara Jail from where the detention camp operates. This letter was forwarded to the SP Border office,” explains Ghosh.
A police team then went to the jail and brought Fazar Ali to the SP Border office. Here after one final scrutiny of the affidavit and all other documents, Fazar Ali was finally granted his wish to go home. He was released on conditional bail in line with two successive judgments of the Supreme Court as well as one suo-moto order by the Gauhati High Court.
The Jail Superintendent’s letter may be viewed here:
The Release Order may be viewed here:
A few images of Fazar Ali reuniting with his family with the help of CJP’s Assam Team may be viewed here: