02, Nov 2021 | CJP Team
In yet another example of the regime’s callous apathy, notices are being served by Foreigners’ Tribunals (FT) to flood-affected people in Assam to prove their citizenship. Our on-ground teams have found that such notices have been served in Jaraguri and Jamdoha village, which fall under Manikpur police station in Bongaigaon district.
“I’ve been working as a daily-wage worker since our agricultural land was inundated due to flooding. The Aie river washed away our home and now my family lives on the street,” says a crest-fallen Purna Arjya, who was served notice along with Nipen Arjya, Ramen Chandra Arjya and Bipin Arjya. All of them hail from economically weak backgrounds and are Bengali Hindus belonging to Scheduled Castes. All of them live in the same shanty-town comprising makeshift huts alongside the road.
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 41 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!
“I have six mouths to feed, so I also make and sell bamboo baskets,” says Purna. Still in shock over the FT notice served upon his family he says, “This is a terrible injustice! First the flood, now the government!” He appealed to CJP for help and we have now taken up his case.
“Residents of Jaraguri village mainly depend on agriculture. But each year flood from Aie river wreaks havoc on their lives,” says Nanda Ghosh, CJP Assam state team in-charge. “Many families have been forced to live by the roadside for three years, because their homes were first washed away and later, they could not return due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” he says. “Our team has been helping Sukumar and Sarathi Arjya who were first served notice when the pandemic had just struck,” says Ghosh showcasing how CJP has been working to defend the rights of such people for over a year.
Clearly, this is not the first time flood-affected people have been forced to defend their citizenship. As we have reported earlier, in July 2020, five people from the flood-hit Dhalpur village in Darrang district of Assam were sent notices to appear before a Foreigners’ Tribunal (FT) in Mangaldoi to defend their Indian citizenship. This was at a time when the entire region was under 7-8 feet of water. CJP team had to take a boat to get there! But what was even more shocking is how breaking from protocol, the notices were not actually served to the people in question, but sent via Whatsapp to the Gram Panchayat President!
It is also noteworthy that it was in the Dhalpur region that police opened fire on people protesting forced evictions on September 23. Two people, including a 12-year-old boy were killed in the firing. Recently, we moved court demanding compensation for the families of the deceased.
CJP, has been working on the ground in Assam since 2017, to help our fellow Indians of all faiths, castes and ethnicities, navigate the complex citizenship crisis, so that nobody is victimised, especially on account of socio-economic backwardness.