Horrors of Citizenship Crisis seem endless to Harimohan Barman as CJP steps in to help With legal aid from CJP, Harimohan Barman was released in 2021, however his struggles continue

15, Jul 2023 | CJP Team

The nightmare of citizenship trials still haunts many who were once detained in centres in Assam, even after their release. Harimohan Barman of Dhupguri village, released from a detention centre in Assam, serves as one example. 

At the last visit by CJP, Harimohan Barman asks CJP’s Team Assam, “How long will the weekly appearances continue?” CJP’s team assured him with certainty that the team is working to ensure some alleviation of this burden. Barman is required to make weekly appearances at the police station after his release, which has proven to be a financial burden given his financial circumstances. 

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!

For people like Harimohan Barman, a citizenship trial never seems to end. Barman was released with the help of CJP in 2021 but even after his release, Barman is still required to attend weekly appearances at the police station, a requirement which proves to be difficult for him due to his financial circumstances. However, he has found support of the CJP reassuring, making valiant efforts to prove the citizenship of Indians in Assam, regularly checks on released detainees to ensure they are not left to fend for themselves. 

Thus, DVM (District Voluntary Motivator) Abul Kalam Azad, on behalf of the CJP, recently visited Barman’s home to discuss his situation and offer reassurance that the CJP is working to secure a verdict and support him in the meantime. Azad listened to his concerns and provided reassurance that the CJP was fighting for justice and that they will continue to support him until the verdict is reached. CJP is committed to easing their burden and working towards a just resolution.

CJP team members visit Harimohan Barman in summer 2022.

Similarly, CJP has been visiting Barman ever since he got released in 2021. For instance, in October 2022, DVM Abul Kalam Azad of CJP was contacted by Harimohan Barman’s wife, as he was ill and unable to move. Azad visited Barman’s home in Dhupguri village to see him and discovered that he was suffering from high fever and headache. Barman’s wife had gone to Kajalgaon hospital to buy medicine and informed Azad that her husband should receive treatment from a good doctor. 

In another visit by Azad in February 2023, he found that Barman’s health had improved, and a house was allotted to him in the government scheme. However, he needed an Aadhar card to claim it, and despite applying, he had not received it yet. Azad collected the contact number of the Village Child Development Committee (VCDC) of the area to discuss the matter further.

The organisation realises that simply because detainees have been released, a herculean task itself which on ground legal aid achieves, this doesn’t mean the released detainees are free from the system’s tentacles. The weekly appearances, which are a requirement even after the release from detention centres, can be daunting for many, especially those who are struggling financially, such as in the case of Harimohan Barman. CJP has been providing assistance to such detainees, who are unable to bear the costs of transportation or other expenses, to ensure that their legal battle does not become more burdensome.

Compassion that comes with Team CJP’s legal aid assistance is part of our mission that includes regular psychological counselling that gives a human touch to the harsh, challenging work on ground.

The citizenship trials with the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam have left many in limbo, with their citizenship being questioned, and the fear of being declared as a foreigner. CJP has been instrumental in providing legal aid and support to those affected in the state.

CJP has also been providing legal aid workshops and assistance to those who need it, legal aid etc., ensuring that everyone has access to justice. The organisation’s unwavering commitment to the cause has given hope to those affected by the NRC and the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). The fact that the experience gained from CJP’s legal interventions is shared among other interveners and practitioners in workshops and online meetings ensures a wider community support for this demanding task.

During CJP’s last visit to Barman, CJP’s DVM emphasised the importance of CJP’s work and provided reassurance that they will continue to fight for justice and support those who have been affected by citizenship trials.


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