CJP’s advocacy and legal aid helps “suspected foreigner”prove his citizenship Floods took away his land, miscreants set the house on fire, and now the state wants to take away his citizenship too!

15, Dec 2022 | CJP Team Assam

In yet another victory for Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), a resident of Assam, who had been “suspected of being a foreigner” by a Foreigners’ Tribunal (FT) in Bongaigoan District, Assam, has now been declared an Indian Citizen!

Lakhan Das @ Lakhan Chandra Das, son of Kala Chand Das, is a resident of no 2 Jamdoha under Village of Bongaigoan District of Assam. Even though he hadn’t had a very easy and peaceful life, this took a turn for the worse when he received a notice from the Foreigners’ Tribunal, declaring him a foreigner.

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!

Lakhan’s case is tragically similar to many individuals of Assam who have not only lost their houses to floods and river erosion, but have, thereafter been unilaterally and malafide-lydeclared stateless: that is, received a “Declared Foreigners” notice from the Assam Border Police. Lakhan received this in February 2021, 33 years after a case was “registered” against him by the SP, Special Branch in 1988!

Lakhan Das was born in the year 1952, at the Nasatra village, falling under the Barpeta District of Assam, he was also brought up in the same village. However, due to river erosion, he had to migrate to the Balarchar village with his family.  They lived in the village till the year 1975, after which, he along with his family had to migrate, once again, due to river erosion. He then shifted to the village Jamdoha No 2, falling under Bongaigaon district.

His troubles were far from over. During the Assam movement(1979-1985), Lakhan’s house was set ablaze, after which he had to take shelter at a temporary camp set up by administration. After this, this, Lakhan and his family had to resettle at the same village even though it had been damaged by floods several times.

Apart from him, there is his elderly wife in the family. Due to his old age, Lakhan’s hearing has been severely affected. He also faces difficulty in walking. Hence, the only was he can earn money to support his family is by making bamboo sheets (dharis). The couple, due to their age, they have problems related to both livelihood and health. Adding to this pressure, they have had to deal with repeated floods, erosion and the bitter experience of the exclusivist politics thrown up by the Assam movement; all this while struggling to make ends meet.

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While Lakhan and his family had been struggling with these series of troubles, the final straw came when an FT notice was served on them through the border police. This one development acted like (more) water being poured over a drowning mouse.

Even though Lakhan had been a regular voter,for decades, he was required to prove his citizenship. His legal battle started with the support of CJP. The first step was to submit relevant documentation before the Bongaigoan Foreigners Tribunal, which was reviewed by CJP’s legal team member, Advocate Dewan Abdur Rahim.

Lakhan’s written statement before the Tribunal submitted that Lakhan was not a foreigner, as had been alleged in the inquiry report submitted by the Investigating Officer (IO) of the case. It was further denied that Lakhan came from East Pakistan or Bangladesh after March 25, 1971, which was the cut-off date under the India’s Citizenship law, as was alleged in the case against him. The IO of the case had falsely submitted an inquiry report without having conducted any investigation against him. Additionally, as was admitted in this inquiry report, the IO of the case never visited Lakhan’s home nor the habitats of the so-called witnesses.

The travesty of the process goes further: the IO had even falsely written/recorded the statement of so-called witnesses without interrogating them; therefore the IO  had submitted  a false inquiry report.  The IO had not disclosed the interrogation report neither was the address of the foreign national disclosed, as had been stated in the inquiry report. Neither could any of the documents that were seized by the IO from Lakhan, prove or indicate in any way that he is a foreign national.

Significantly, the case launched by the border police and FT against Lakhan is also barred by law of limitation. The case has been registered in the year 1988, under orders of the SP (B), and the respondent party –Lakhan– received the notice of this case only in February 2021, after a lapse of  33 years.

In the detailed written statement, the legal representative of Lakhan has claimed that Lakhan is a citizen of India by birth and was born out of t wedlock of  Kala chan Das @ Kalachand Das and Binada Sundari in the year 1952 at village Nasatra that falls under  the Barpeta District of Assam. This was after the preparation of National Register of Citizens (NRC) in 1951. His parents had expired a long while ago. Prior to the year 1962, his father  had migrated to the village Balar Char, under the then North Salmara  Police station, from the village Nasatra, due to river erosion. They lived in the said village till the year 1975, after which he and his family members were forced to migrate again, to the village Jamdoha No.2, again as a result of rive erosion. After their migration to the village Jamdoha, he married Sundari Das and conitnued living at the aforesaid village.

Lakhan’s case is both strange and special. While he and his family are victims of floods and river erosion, their house was also burnt down during the Assam movement. However, they kept their lives and documents safe. Lakhan has all the documents from the year 1951 to 2022, including NRC legacy data of 1966, legacy data of 1971, land documents, voter card, Aadhar Card, Ration Card, caste certificate, and the voter list of 1989, 1997, 2011, 2016, etc. As can be deduced from his case, he is entitled to the all rights, privileges and protection guaranteed to the citizens of India, under the Constitution of India and any other laws of the country.

It is through the constant support provided by the legal team of CJP that Lakhan has now been finally declared as an Indian citizen. He happiness was beyond measure. When Nanda Ghosh, on the behalf of CJP and CJP’s legal team, went to his home to hand over the copy of the judgement of the Foreigner Tribunal that finally declared him an Indian citizen.

He was full of emotion. He told Nanda Ghosh that, “After the flood and the river erosion, when we came to this village then, this huge area was a thick forest. As soon as the sun went down, we would have dinner and fall asleep, as the shrill shrieks of the foxes could be heard.” He continued, “At that time we were only six houses in this vast area. Gradually, I witnessed more homes and buildings come up, along with hospitals the court? Now, this court-police have sent me a Declared Foreigner-notice!”

He silent for a while, before saying slowly that, “When I came here, there was nothing in this place called a FT Court!”

It was a wintery evening when Nanda Ghosh spoke with Lakhan while handing over the judgement copy. His wife told the CJP team that, “Since morning we both have been waiting for you. For a long time, I have been wanting to offer a cup of tea to you but couldn’t.”She continued, “It is my request that you both today do not leave without eating a Rosogolla (sweet). Your uncle brought ‘rosogolla’ and ‘ nimki ‘ through his grandson.”

It was painful to hear her say these words, but we could also feel her relief and happiness. She also mentioned that they have a married daughter in a neighboring village, who is also poor. They also informed us that they have a son who is ill and lives outside where his wife works.

Lakhan’s wife then said to Nanda Ghosh, “Baba, your uncle looks happy and brave now. But you know, before today, he couldn’t sleep at night due to the case.” She continued, “Baba, our grief is endless. Everything is now in the hands of God. After all, there are good people in this world who help people like us.” She further added, “You know, I used to get government ration rice before the FT case was initiated. But after this case started, I don’t get that rice either.”

She continued, “Last rainy season, the house was also damaged but we could not repair it. Due to this case, we did not even get benefits of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojona.”

She then prayed and blessed the CJP team. The team assured the elderly couple that now that Lakhan has been declared an Indian citizen, they can ask the village panachyat members about their PMGAY. We also urged them that if the members do not take any step to assist them and provide them with the fund, then the CJP team will speak to the Block Development Officer (BDO),  if necessary. CJP will ensure that Lakhan and his wife get every right that is guaranteed to them.

The order of the court can be read here:



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