19, May 2023 | CJP Team
Omesha Khatun Bibi, a resident of Assam who had been “suspected of being a foreigner” by a Foreigners’ Tribunal (FT) in Goalpara District, Assam, has now been declared an Indian citizen. Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) came to the aid of Omesha bibi, a marginalized individual who had suffered at the hands of the state, and assisted her in defending her rights and proving her citizenship. Our on ground team working in close to two dozen districts ensured that justice prevailed for Omesha Begum.
Omesha was born and brought up at village Haribhanga under Fulbari Police station of West Garo Hills, Meghalaya about 55 years ago. She was a daughter to Sopial Sheikh and Saleha bibi. On April 15, 1983, she got married to Mojaffar Hosen, son of late Naibulla Sheikh of Village Dharai under Lakhipur police station Goalpara Assam. Omesha bibi lived a hand to mouth life, where she and her husband, who is a farmer, made a living by farming and selling vegetables. Omesha bibi came from a very poor family, both educationally and socially.
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!
The FT notice, and the case against Omesha Bibi
Omesha bibi became extremely concerned after receiving the FT notice, anxiety consumed her and she even stopped eating. The CJP team then took over her case and fought it in the Tribunal. The case against Omesha bibi was based on the allegations that “she had illegally entered the territory of India between the period of January 1, 1966 and March 24, 1971, or post March 25, 1971,” and has been living in India illegally since then. The CJP’s legal team meticulously garnered facts and legally valued documents that established that these allegations were baseless and thereafter put the comprehensive case in defence before the Tribunal. Our legal team argued as to how could Omesha bibi, who was born in Meghalaya and married in Assam, be suspected of being a foreigner in this arbitrary fashion?
The arguments relied upon by the CJP legal team
Arguments proferred by CJP’s legal team also highlighted hat the investigation officer of the case had neither visited Omesha bibi’s house, nor asked to produce any documents regarding her citizenship or nationality. Additionally, in spite of not conducting a fair investigation or a proper enquiry, the investigation officer falsely submitted a report in the case against her.
The CJP legal team, using all the documentary proof listed below, asserted that Omesha bibi is Indian by birth, and that only was she born and brought up in India, even her parents and her grandparents where born in this country, and they have sufficient documents to prove them.
Establishing the family line:
The background of the parents and grandparents of Omesha bibi was then established by the CJP legal team. Omesha bibi’s father and grandfather were born and brought up in village Takimari, which falls under the South Salmara Police Station of then Goalpara District and now Dhubri district of Assam. Notably, Omesha’s father name has been recorded along with her grandparents and uncle in the copy of the N.R.C conducted in 1951. The name of her grandfather, along with her uncle name, has been recorded in the Final Khatian of Land Revenue Record on 1962.
It was then also provided to the Tribunal that due to the soil erosion caused by the Brahmaputra river, Omesha’s grandparents, along with the father and other family members, had to shift from the village of Takimari under South Salmara Police station, then Goalpara now Dhubri, Assam into the village of Haribhanga. Village Haribhanga fell under the jurisdiction of Fulbari police station of the West Garo Hills district of the state of Meghalaya in the year of 1964. Notably, the name of Omesha’s parents, along with grandparents, had also been recorded in the voter list of the years 1977 and 1983 in the state of Meghalaya. All these documents proving her lineage were presented to the court to disprove the assertion made in the FT notice that Omesha bibi entered India illegally.
In addition to the above-mentioned documents, the land documents of the year 1986 were also provided. Apart from this, documents showing Omesha bibi’s own name in the voter list of the years 1985, 1997, till the year 2022 were provided. In short, Omesha bibi provided all the necessary documents in the court that were needed to prove her citizenship as an Indian.
The legal battle and the tribunal’s decision
The basis of the case against Omesha bibi relied on the accusation levelled against her that she had entered India illegally. To prove the said allegation to be completely false and baseless, the CJP legal team rigorously fought for her in the Goalpara foreigner’s tribunal. Even though accessing the documentation and proofs was extremely difficult and challenging, the dedicated CJP team accomplished the task. And, after eleven months of hard work by the CJP team, Omesha has now finally been declared an Indian citizen by the FT!
On May 18, 2023, on behalf of the CJP Assam team, Nanda Ghosh, the state-incharge of the Assam team, Advocate Ashim Mubarak, CJP legal team member, and Jeshmin Sultana and Reshminara Begum, DVMs of Goalpara, met with Omesha Bibi to handover the judgment copy of her case. Omesha bibi and her husaband were full of happiness and relief to have received a positive judgement in her case.
“May Allah bless you,” Omesha and her husband said, blessing the team. Her husband added, “We are poor and simple people, who got so very worried having received the FT notice.”
Omesha bibi then told the CJP team, “even though I was scared, I was always praying a dua for you during namaz.”
The order of the FT court can be read here: