11, Mar 2020 | Zamser Ali
70-year-old Seje Bala Ghosh is in shock. This daughter of a freedom fighter and resident of North Bongaigaon (ward no 10) has been served foreigners’ notice by the Foreigners’ Tribunal of Bongaigaon, despite the fact that her name has been included in final National Register of Citizens (NRC) that was published on August 31, 2019! Now, CJP has decided to help the daughter of a man who defended India from colonisers, defend her citizenship.
Ghosh had used the legacy data of her father Lt. Digendra Chandra Ghosh, who was connected closely with prominent revolutionary and freedom fighter Chandra Sekhar Azad. Ideally, with such an illustrious legacy, she should be able to walk with her head held high, but today Ghosh feels ashamed at being forced to prove her citizenship before the FT where she has to appear on March 21.
“I have all my father’s documents, but now I feel so ashamed. I am also a little scared of going to the court or interacting with the police,” says the septuagenarian. She is a widow and her son passed away a few months ago. “I have no money to fight my case in a foreigners’ tribunal. I have no earning member in my family. I have been working as a maid in my neighbour’s house to serve myself and my family. Now due to my old age no one is ready to employ me. How can I survive? How will I go to tribunal? How will I pay the advocate,” she asks breaking down in tears. The CJP team visiting her house including CJP Assam team mentor Zamser Ali, lower Assam volunteer motivator of CJP Nanda Ghosh and its community volunteer Amritlal Das tried to pacify her. Nanda Ghosh said, “You need not worry about it. CJP will take all responsibility of your case.”
Now that the final NRC has been published, and 19,06,657 people have been excluded from the final list, CJP’s campaign has become even more focused. Our objective now, is to help these excluded people defend their citizenship before Foreigners’ Tribunals. For this we have already started conducting a series of workshops to train paralegals to assist people at FTs. We will also be publishing a multi-media training manual containing simplified aspects of legal procedure, evidentiary rules, and judicial precedents that will ensure the appeals filed against the NRC exclusions in the FTs are comprehensive and sound, both in fact and in law. This will assist our paralegals, lawyers and the wider community in Assam to negotiate this tortuous process. For this we need your continued support. Please donate now to help us help Assam.
It is noteworthy that her father Digendra moved from Sherpur town of erstwhile Maymonshing district of what was then called East Pakistan. As per refugee registration certificate of March 7, 1951, Digendra Chandra Ghosh, son of Padma, is registered as refugee along with his four other family members. The refugee certificate bears the seal and is signed by Deputy Commissioner of the then Goalpara District of Assam. The family registered as refugees and took shelter in Bongaigaon. Their names were included in 1951 NRC in Bongaigaon. The names included in 1951 NRC of her family were father of Seje Bala Ghosh, Digendra Chandra Ghosh her elder brother Dhiren Ghosh a.k.a Manik Ghosh, her elder sisters Manada a.k.a Usharani Ghosh and Sudharani Ghosh. It may be mention that the name of her mother Barada Bala Ghosh was not included in 1951 NRC as she went to her father’s house due to her pregnancy.
Few days later Seje Bala Ghosh was born at her maternal grandfather’s house in Bilashipara of Goalpara District, according to Sudharani Ghosh and Usharani Ghosh who are still living. It may be mentioned after staying few days in refugee camp at Bongaigaon, the family shifted to Darrang District. Digendra Chandra Ghosh as well as his four other sons and daughters had received passport in the year 1960. The address of Digendra Chandra Ghosh in his passport was recorded as resident of village Balagora, PS- Mangaldoi in the District of undivided Darrang.
As per Seje Bala Ghosh and her younger brother Haribhakta Ghosh, their father died in 1961 in that village. The name Barada Bala Ghosh, wife of Digendra Chandra Ghosh and Manik Ghosh son of late Digendra Chandra Ghosh were included in 1966 voter list in the same address from where the passport of Digendra Chandra Ghosh was issued. The two persons who were included in 1966 voter list are mother and elder brother of Seje Bala Ghosh respectively. Most important matter of fact is that during Indo-China war in 1962, Barad Bala Ghosh wife of Digendra Chandra Ghosh donated rupees 50 to Indian National Security Fund selling her landed property. As per present price index the rupees 50 of 1962 is about Rs.3,54,258.50.
Gopal Ghosh a prominent youth of Bongaigaon who is son of Haribhakta Ghosh and nephew of Seje Bala Ghosh says, “My widowed grandmother donated rupees 50 to Indian Army fund in 1962 which equal to Rs.3.5 lacs at present. My grandfather fought for Indian freedom movement. We have witnessed that revolutionary freedom fighter like Chandra Sekhar Azad wrote a letter to my grandfather Digendra Chandra Ghosh for his contribution toward India’s struggle for freedom. I wonder if the parents of our present Prime Minister Narendra Modi have donated such amount for Indian security. But my aunt is facing foreigners’ case in his regime. It is quite unacceptable to us.”
This is not the single instance, Seje Bala Ghosh is one amongst thousands of such depressed and distressed person who is facing the foreigners’ tribunal case in Assam at present. Earlier CJP had brought you the case of another freedom fighter’s daughter Rashminara Begum who was dragged away kicking and screaming to a detention camp even when she was three months pregnant with one child and breast feeding another baby.