11, Aug 2018 | Zamser Ali
Two people have allegedly committed suicide in Assam due to the exclusion of names of their family members from the final draft of National Register of Citizens (NRC). While 70 year old Deben Barman was found hanging from a tree in Dhubri district on August 7, 44 year old Rajesh Singh was also found hanging in his home in Udalgiri district the following day.
Dhubri district is located in lower Assam and Deben Barman was a marginal farmer. He was a resident of Kanuri Village (part III) which falls under the jurisdiction of Golokganj Police Station. He was reportedly frustrated after he discovered that the names of his son Mahendra Barman, and his 16 year old grandson did not appear in the draft NRC. “The old man feared that if the names were dropped from the NRC they might be thrown out of the country, or will have to face either D Voters case for Foreigners Tribunal cases which will be embarrassing for the family. That is probably why he decided to take his own life,” said Nipan Ray a youth who lives in the neighbourhood.
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The following day on August 8, Rajesh Singh who worked as a labourer Nakhuti Village (part II), near Dashiri Tea Estate, an area that falls under the jurisdiction of Majbat Police Station, hung himself too. Udalgiri district is a part of Bodoland Territorial Area Districts (BTAD) of Northern Middle Assam. Singh left behind a mother, a wife and four children. His father Ambeswar Singh who was a fourth grade employee of the tea estate has passed away a few years ago. However, the family had no government documents till 1967. Also Ambeswar’s name did not appear in the 1971 voters list or before that, making it difficult for the family to produce legacy documents for inclusion of their names in the NRC.
Singh’s mother Nikhilesh Singh was served a D Voter notice and directed to appear before a Foreigners’ Tribunal twice, but she ignored it. She was therefore declared a foreigner ex parte and remanded to a detention camp one and a half years ago. Due to acute poverty, Rajesh Singh could not do anything regarding legal course to get his mother out of detention camp, adding to his feelings of helplessness and frustration. Then when the NRC final draft was released on July 30, he was shocked to discover that names of all members of his family have been excluded. After week long mental disturbance, Rajesh Singh finally took his own life. His neighbours feel Rajesh Singh took this extreme measure fearing the uncertain future.
A total of 4,07,707 people’s names are missing from the NRC despite submitting all documents. This situation has created fear and anguish among people, and an atmosphere of uncertainty is prevailing in Assam.