03, Aug 2023 | CJP team
In a week marred by heavy rainfall and flooding that wreaked havoc on many villages in Dhubri district, CJP came across the news of a deceased person being served a Suspected Foreigners notice. The person belonged to the Uttar Moragodadhar village which falls under the Agomani police station of Dhubri district, a gateway to western Assam.
The family had not– until CJP was contacted– responded to the noticed served to the person. Recognising the gravity of the issue, CJP’s team endeavoured to counsel the family and help them with any issues they would face given this notice.
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!
Despite acutely inclement weather and challenging weather conditions, CJP’s team personally visited the family. The team had already previously guided them over the phone in submitting all the necessary documents at the local police station, however the family wanted the team to visit them in person.
The family’s insistence on an in-person meeting to discuss the sudden notice and its implications was met with understanding and compassion. DVM Habibul Bepari, CJP’s District Voluntary Motivator, engaged in detailed conversations with the family, explaining the citizenship issue and the grave consequences of ignoring a tribunal summons, even if it had been served to a deceased person.
Apart from the citizenship concerns, the village also was facing the deadly impact of river erosion. The natural calamity took a huge toll on the community, adding to their struggles. In addition to battling nature’s fury, the villagers found themselves burdened with suspicion and uncertainty, as the state continues to question their status, labelling some as suspected foreigners.
Despite the adversities posed by the floods and river erosion, Habibul Bepari’s presence offered hope and reassurance to the villagers. People affected by the citizenship crisis often are marginalised at multiple levels, which makes their ability to prove themselves as Indian even more difficult. CJP recognises that and thereby has a multipronged approach, which is not restricted to solely proving their Indian status. CJP maintains a sustained relation with citizens long after they’ve been freed of the legal hurdles, understanding that this grave crisis can be a lifelong process. Our endeavour and aim is to ensure, from bottom up, village, district, Foreigner Tribunal to constitutional courts, the grave injustices faced by the Indian citizenry on these issues are effectively resolved.
Image Courtesy: Representational