15, Sep 2023 | CJP Team
In the heartland of Assam, CJP’s team continues their relentless pursuit of aiding the underprivileged. A few weeks ago, just like every other week, the team members District Voluntary Motivator Habibul Bepari and community volunteer Rahul Roy went to Dhubri district of Assam and witnessed the harrowing story of Sumoti Das.
Sumoti Das, a 52-year-old woman hailing from the North Raipur in Assam, is no stranger to hardship. Born into a Scheduled Caste family, she has been grappling with deteriorating health for years, all while enduring immense mental pressure. Sumoti has been a resident of North Raipur since her birth, where she was married to Narayan Das several decades ago.
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!
Sumoti’s early life was marred by poverty. She made way with an empty stomach through her childhood as education remained an unattainable dream. Marriage brought no respite either, instead, it presented new challenges in the form of limited resources and a constant struggle to make ends meet and the entire family toiled tirelessly to purchase a small piece of land and build a humble home. However, trouble struck deeper when Sumoti’s health took a turn for the worse, rendering her unable to stand and walk properly. She endured this silently, knowing that seeking medical treatment was an option they couldn’t afford.
But her woes did not end there. Sumoti found herself trapped in a web of uncertainty woven by the state after she was marked as ‘Doubtful’ citizen, a label that has haunted her for years now from the inside to the out. The mere sight of a police car near their roadside home sends shivers down her spine. “Either I’ll die at home or in jail,” she declared with tears in her eyes. However, a thorough examination of her documents revealed that her father and even her grandfather’s names were recorded in data from 1951. Yet, despite the existence of documents to prove her parents and grandparents are from India, she remains shackled in this position.
She has even been barred from accessing welfare schemes, and even her name on the ration card was under scrutiny due to the ‘D’ mark next to her name on the voter list. The crisis affected every single part of her and her family’s lives. In these dark hours, Sumoti found solace and hope in the form of CJP. CJP’s team assured her that she was not alone in her struggle. CJP, with its unwavering commitment to justice, would stand by her side and assist her in the process to prove her citizenship. This brought on a flicker of hope that had been extinguished by years of despair.
CJP has been a steady advocate for the rights of marginalised and oppressed communities in Assam. CJP’s dedicated team works tirelessly across the state where they actively engage with citizenship victims every week. With providing aid to people like Sumoti Das, who have been ensnared in bureaucratic entanglements of the citizenship crisis of Assam, the team engages in providing not just legal assistance but also conduct sessions for counselling, legal workshops etc. that can make the process easier for marginalised Indians.
Sumoti Das’s story serves as a poignant reminder of the deep-seated challenges faced by citizenship crisis victims in Assam. Her struggle exposes the urgent need for justice and reform in the system.