28, Sep 2023 | CJP Team
Adding to CJP’s victories in its relentless humanitarian work in Assam, Taijuddin Ali, a 49-year-old physically disabled man from Assam, has been declared an Indian citizen after a gruelling two year long legal battle. CJP continues to be a champion for the cause of the marginalised in its battle against the crisis of innocents being rendered stateless in Assam.
Taijuddin Ali is an Indian citizen by birth having been born to Kashem Ali and Surjiya Bibi in 1974 in a village which comes under the Bhandara police station area, which is now part of Manikpur in Bongaigaon district. He was born and raised in the same village. His father passed away in 1977, while his mother still remains alive. In 2005, Taijuddin married Sahera Bhanu and they have four children.
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!
Due to the erosion caused by floods from the Manas River around 1983, as is the case for many poverty ridden people in Assam, Tajuddin’s family was forced to relocate from Bhandara to Salabila, under the jurisdiction of Manikpur Police Station. They continue to reside in the village of Salabila with their family members.
Tajuddin Ali’s citizenship was first called into question when he received a notice from Assam border police alleging that he was a suspected foreigner who had entered India from Bangladesh after March 25, 1971.
However, it is curious how the authorities concluded this because the police personnel was never noted to have visited Tajuddin’s home. They also failed to take statements from him or other witnesses and had submitted an inquiry report without any substantial investigation. Furthermore, crucial documents, including Tajuddin’s passport, were not seized or submitted as evidence to support the claim that he was a foreign national.
Further adding to the many shortcoming on behalf of the authorities, it was noted that the legal action taken against Tajuddin had lapsed due to the huge delay. For while the case had initially been registered in the year 2000 Taijuddin received notice only in 2021 after over two decades of inactivity.
However, Tajuddin’s battle for justice came at a high personal cost. Suffering from severe health issues, including a 60% disability, he struggled to take care of his family of seven members. His income was also derived from a small paan shop at the local market further decreased as his health deteriorated which ended up forcing him to beg to make ends meet.
Despite the challenges, Tajuddin Ali was determined to fight for his rights. With the support of CJP and its legal team, he assembled all the necessary documents to prove his Indian citizenship and this struggle ended in a long-awaited victory and on September 21, 2023, the judgement declaring him an Indian citizen was handed over to him by CJP Assam’s state in-charge Nanda Ghosh and CJP’s legal team member Advocate Dewan Abdur Rahim on behalf of CJP.
Despite enduring immense physical and economic hardships, Tajuddin Ali’s face revealed intense relief at finally being declared an Indian citizen. He got emotional talking to CJP about the support he received from the team in his harrowing journey. “I am physically sick, there is poverty, there is a lot of pain, yet this news (being declared a suspected foreigner) had completely exhausted me. But now with this affirmation of my citizenship, I am free of one of my main sources of despair!”
He continued further, thanking CJP for the legal help and all-round support the team provided, “In spite of many hardships, at least I found peace on one side. Thank you very much for helping me!”
Tajuddin’s case is an example of the vast number of challenges faced by countless marginalised people like him, who find themselves entangled in legal battles for their very existence. While his story ends on a victorious note, it serves as testament to the humanitarian work relentlessly pursued by CJP come hail or storm in the tragic citizenship crisis of Assam.