01, Feb 2020 | CJP Team
In yet another instance of what are being dubbed institutional murders, 42 year old Fayjal Hoque allegedly took his life, unable to cope with anxiety and anguish related to the National Register of Citizens.
Hoque was an urban labourer and was found dead at his home in Kodomtola in Barpeta district. He had allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself. He is survived by his wife who is a daily wage labourer herself and two daughters aged 12 and 7.
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.
“His family told me that he had a D Voter case against him as a result of which his name had been excluded from the NRC. He had been running pillar to post to prove his citizenship, but it took a toll on him. He had been depressed for a month and took his own life after losing all hope and strength,” says CJP Volunteer Motivator Majidul Islam.
The police visited his home yesterday and Hoque’s body has been sent for a post mortem.
CJP has been compiling information on these institutional murders for over a year now. Most people who lose hope and feel that there is no other alternative than to take their own lives hail from economically backward and socially marginalized communities. Many are daily wage labourers whose families go hungry every time they cannot to go work because of appearances before Assam’s infamous Foreigners’ Tribunals (FTs). These FTs, in turn, are notorious for either passing adverse judgments ex parte i.e in the absence of the accused, or due to minor discrepancies in documents. Many even go on to suggest that the parents of the accused are ‘projected parents’ and not actual parents.
All of this is extremely humiliating, cumbersome, time consuming and drains people of their drive to soldier on. The fear of being forced to suffer amidst inhuman conditions in a detention camp is another key factor that pushes people over the edge. This is why so many people have allegedly taken their own lives.
The final updated NRC was released in August 2019, and it left out over 19 lakh people. The BJP led Assam government allegedly only rejected this NRC because a large number of those excluded were Bengali Hindus, a potential vote bank for their politics of religious division. But the people of Assam who have pushed for the NRC have never been divided along religious lines. They have looked up to the process to weed out all alleged Bangladeshi migrants, irrespective of their religion. This is why when the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) was passed to legitimize non-Muslim migrants from three neighbouring countries including Bangladesh, Assam mounted the strongest defense, rejecting it with all their might.