05, Feb 2024 | CJP Team
In the village of Sonakhuli in Assam’s Bongaigaon, a 78-year-old man named Shayar Uddin Sk sat on a chair near a crackling fireplace, his tired and weathered face seemed to tell a story of resilience and hardship. CJP’s team recently visited Shayar, who has recently become a victim of Assam’s vicious citizenship crisis. The team reached his home and began with an inquiry into his well-being. Shayar had just returned from working in the fields. His only son, the usual caretaker of the family’s fields, had migrated to another state in search of employment.
This left Shayar alone, alone with the challenges, new and old. He has been fighting a two year long battle to prove his citizenship. When the team visited him, Shayar’s pain was palpable to the team. “It destroyed us!” he exclaimed and talking about the toll of a two-year battle which he was battling currently at the 10th Foreigner Tribunal of Dhubri. The tribunal’s verdict had declared him a non-Indian, a harsh reality that stood in stark contrast to the documents he possessed. The document he has reportedly had traced his father’s voting history back to 1966 and thus could help him regain his citizenship.
Every week, CJP’s dedicated team in Assam, comprising community volunteers, district volunteer motivators, and lawyers, provides vital paralegal support, counseling, and legal aid to many affected by the citizenship crisis in over 24 districts in Assam. Through our hands-on approach, 12,00,000 people successfully submitted completed NRC forms (2017-2019). We fight Foreigner Tribunal cases monthly at the district level. Through these concerted efforts, we have achieved an impressive success rate of 20 cases annually, with individuals successfully obtaining their Indian citizenship. This ground level data ensures informed interventions by CJP in our Constitutional Courts. Your support fuels this crucial work. Stand with us for Equal Rights for All #HelpCJPHelpAssam. Donate NOW!
Shayar, however, continues to remain undeterred. His quest for justice led him to the Guwahati High Court, where he is resolved to fight against the odds stacked not only in the courtroom but also within the confines of his home. For Shayar, this was not just a legal battle; it was a matter of pride and dignity that all citizens in India are entitled to. CJP’s team has promised to keep in touch and continue visiting him. His story captures the broader struggle faced by countless individuals in marginalised communities, battling not only legal injustices but also societal disregard and apathy. This instance is emblematic of the empathetic and humane qualities that CJP’s approach in Assam practises. The approach acknowledges that there are human beings stuck in this catastrophic crisis and thus embodies compassion and dignity in its practice.
The citizenship crisis in Assam has unleashed unprecedented challenges, particularly for the marginalised communities grappling with the complexities of identity and belonging. Through a sustained and enduring commitment, CJP has been at the forefront with a boots on ground approach navigating the intricate and vulnerable realities to advocate for justice and the rights of those affected. Their relentless pursuit of truth, coupled with a deep understanding of the nuanced issues faced by the disenfranchised, has enabled them to bring relief to over 50 people that were trying to regain their citizenship.