Ninety-year-old Rajbongshi woman in the citizenship test Samoik Prasanga

08, Jul 2021

After birth she was named Moyna. As a child, she drew attention from the whole village for her beauty. Everyone in the village used to call her “Devi” because she looked like a goddess. Her name changed from Moyna Barman to Moyna Devi. She has 1951 NRC in this name. The adjective goddess for her beauty has become curse for a 92-year-old woman, Moyna of Rajbongshi community. Moyna was designated a doubtful voter because Devi was next to her name. Now the old woman is helpless for this. Moyna’s citizenship is still in the court today, despite being a Rajbongshi, a community called the origin inhabitants of Assam.

Moyna Barman never went to school. Her family members never understood the importance to correct her name in documents. “Some government officials came to my house to know our names. At that time they wrote Devi next to my name. I am not educated. But they are educated, why they did this mistake.” This old woman repeatedly said. As the result of the tampering of her name, Moyna was identified as doubtful foreigner in 2007. Whole life she has to live in char region area. Moyna lives in a flood prone area on the banks of the river near border. Villages are often swept away by floods. Poor people have to find a safe place while also carrying their things. When it becomes difficult to save life from river, who cares about documents? But many do not understand that saving paper is a much bigger responsibility than saving lives!
Moyna was born in the Maitel village near Bangladesh border. Moyna Barman’s father-in-law’s house was in Kedar part i. She was staying in Kedar part i with her husband. She has three child- one boy, two girls. Her son died a few years ago. Now she is living with one of her daughter in Kedar part iii. This village is under Golokganj police station of Gauripur LAC in Dhubri district. Moyna hear the name Bangladesh for first time. But she never understand what is the relationship of her with this country. In 1966 and after that she was voted in Nalia. But due to ‘D’ Moyna can’t vote now. Why she stopped voting, can’t understand this woman over 90.
Her physical condition also not well. She is suffering from skin disease. Rashes all over the body. But there is no financial means to go to the hospital for treatment. Moyna may not even have a place in the circle of government health projects as her citizenship is in question. “I don’t have the money to pay for the treatment, and the rash can’t be tolerated,” Moyna said like a soliloquy with a helpless look.
CJP (Citizens for Justice and Peace) come forward to help Moyna. District volunteer motivator Habibul Bepari said, “After Moyna became a D-voter in 2007, her family could not figure out what to do. In 2017-18, notice came in her name to appear in FT. She has hearing twice in FT. She was present in her one hearing.” FT works and hearings are closed now for lockdown. Nanda Ghosh CJP Assam State Incharge said, “Moyna Barman is a 90 years old lady, she is physically ill. She can’t move well. So as a human rights organization CJP has taken the responsibility of helping old Moyna .” Nanda added, “In 1951 NRC she was 20 years old. So she is 90 years old now. However, it is according to government data. According to those who have known her for a long time, Moyna is 107 years old. Be it 92 or 170, but how this old woman, a native of Assam, became a suspicious foreigner – is the question of Habibul, Nanda.
CRPC General Secretary Sadhan Purakayastha called Moyna’s story “tragic”. He said, “The duplicitous policy of the government became clear once again. On the one hand it is said that the Rajbongshi are the origin inhabitants of the state, on the other hand an old woman of this community like Moyna has to prove in court that she is Indian. According to Sadhan Babu, the problem is not only with Bengalis or Rajbongshis. It is a greater civic crisis. Surprisingly, Rajbongshi organizations are not playing any role. But the collective struggle is the call of time.


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