CJP in action in Assam: Reaching remote villages to render counselling and aid Reports from the ground
05, Dec 2019 | Sanchita Kadam
CJP is undeterred as it is steadily reaching more and more remote villages in Assam, reaching out to as many persons affected by NRC, as possible.
The State co-ordinator of Assam, Mr. Zamser Ali visited Borbari village in Morigaon District, which is a part of greater Nellie, on December 3. There was no electricity in the village at that time and the villagers were gathered so that they could be counselled on the next steps after their exclusion from NRC.
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.
Thereafter, on the same night, the team moved on to Mairabhaj village in Nagaon district which is around 40 kms from Nellie and reached there close to midnight. One of CJP’s paralegal team members, Mujammil Hoque is a resident of Mairabhaj village welcomed the team there, with 20 other villagers who were eager to get some information that would give them clarity on the various issues related to NRC and Foreigners Tribunals.
Both in Borbari and in Mairabhaj elaborate discussions took place around NRC, with people who were excluded from NRC, some D-Voters (Doubtful voters) and people who are in appeal before Foreigners Tribunal. Each of their concerns were different and the CJP team led by Zamser Ali tried to respond to every query and give information to the villagers.
Such meetings are a part of the day to day tasks of the CJP team, which involves traveling to remote villages to address the issues of people affected by NRC and those who are in need of aid in that regard. During such visits, the CJP team comes across many stories of these affected people. One such story is of Namon Uddin, who lost his father, mother and 4 brothers during the Nellie genocide of 1983. His wife makes mats out of straw of wild plants in order to support the family, to cover the expenses of approaching the Foreigners Tribunal. While the names of Namon Uddin and his wife are include in the NRC, the names of his children have been excluded.
The village Borbari is famous as the region where, in 1983, more than 1800 people were killed by ultra-chauvinist forces during the Assam Movement. As many as 30-40% of Nellie’s population are facing ‘repeat cases’ before Assam’s infamous Foreigners Tribunals.
In 1983, the massacre claimed more minors and women, all of whom died at this same spot. Still, after 36 years, it is a poor village, with a mixed population, where 1330 persons live (Census of India, 2011). Among them, 606 are female, 727 are male, 237 are minors. Its literacy rate is much lesser than the national and Assam average at 66.24%. The total Scheduled Caste population here is 585 persons. Total number of households is 252.
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