05, Jun 2020 | Kuntal Chakraborty
I have heard the name of Bangladesh, I have never been there, but my identity in this country is Bangladeshi
“They identified me as a Bangladeshi and sent me to jail. But I was born in India. My father had a small plot of land in Bijni. That’s where I was born. I have heard that there is a country called Bangladesh, I have never been there. However, in the eyes of the law, I became a Bangladeshi and remained a prisoner in a detention camp for three years.” said by 73 years old Parboti Das. Parboti submitted her 1949 ration card in her father’s name to prove her citizenship at the Foreigners’ Tribunal. Her father’s name was on the voter list of 1970. Parboti also submitted that document to the tribunal. She also submitted the linkage certificate issued by the village panchayat secretary to the tribunal. However, the tribunal found that Parboti could not prove her linkage with her father. The linkage certificate issued by the Gram Panchayat Secretary clearly states that Parboti’s father’s name is Sharat Chandra Das. But due to slight discrepancies in her grandfather’s name in the two documents, Parboti was declared a foreigner by the tribunal.
In 2005, a foreigners case was filed in the name of this impoverished Parboti in the Foreigners Tribunal of Dhubri. After the formation of a new tribunal in Bongaigaon in 2008, the case was sent there. From then on, Parboti’s ordeal began. He could not appear in the first few hearings. However, on 2nd July, 2008, she submitted documents to the tribunal as proof of her citizenship. Among those documents were the 1949 ration card in her father’s name and the 1970 voter list of her father. But Parboti became a Bangladeshi for the cause of not being able to prove her linkage with her father. In 2017, the police arrested her and sent her to the detention camp in Kokrajhar. Guwahati High Court had rejected the bail application of Parboti. The life of long captivity became inevitable for her.
in 2019 Parboti’s son Bishwanath, who spends his days pulling a rickshaw, CJP could knew from him about his mother’s miserable life. “At first we went to the Guwahati High Court with a review petition. Spending three years in a detention camp paved the way for his release following a Supreme Court order. However, there is a problem with the guarantor.” said by CJP Assam state coordinator Zamser Ali.
In most cases, most of the people do not want to be guarantor of a declared foreigner. Although one or two of them agreed to become bailiffs, their application was rejected by the concerned authorities for various reasons. However, the CJP volunteers were not disappointed. Two such volunteers, Nanda Ghosh and Pranay Tarafdar, rushed to find a way to release of Parboti from Detention Camp. “It usually takes three to four months to sort through all the paperwork. But we had to work for nine months for Parboti.” said by Nanda Ghosh. Parboti was finally released from detention camp on 22nd April, 2020.
Since coming under the open sky, Parboti has repeatedly said, “I don’t know how I became a Bangladeshi. The law of the country where I was born left the mark of Bangladeshi next to my name. I never thought I would be able to get out of that prison. Long live CJP. ”
Translated by: Papiya Das