Retired Army man asked to prove Indian citizenship in Assam

Aaron Brown
October 3, 2017

Mohd Azmal Haque, who had retired a year ago as Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) has posted a video on social media stating that he had received a notice from government placing him in the doubtful-voter category. The notice reportedly says that Hoque entered India in 1971 without proper documentation. The retired JCO said that he had missed the first date of appearing before the tribunal on September 11as he had received the notice after that date. The tribunal is likely to hear the case on October 13. "We gave all the documents to the court then to prove our India citizenship", he said, adding that the names of both his parents, as well as the names of his wife's parents, figure in the 1966 voters list, which is enough to prove their Indian citizenship.

Previously, his wife was also accused of being an illegal immigrant in 2012, but was later identified to be a bonafide Indian citizen.

Several of these tribunals have been set up in Assam to identify illegal immigrants in the country.

A retired Indian Army officer has been asked by the authorities in the northeastern state of Assam to prove his Indian identity. Azmal Haque joined the Indian Army in 1986 as a mechanical engineer and he was appointed as a JCO by former President APJ Abdul Kalam on January 19, 2003 in the rank of Naib-Subedar.

"I'm very hurt at this treatment", said Haque whose elder son is studying at Rashtriya Indian Military College (RIMC) and aspires to be an army man.

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Illegal immigration from Bangladesh is an emotive issue in Assam. "Its a 2008 case and on Tuesday (October 3) when the court reopens, we will send for the documents".

Aman Wadud, lawyer-activist from Assam who has taken up Hoque's case, said that he has dealt with similar cases of government officials, who have spent years on the job, being asked to furnish details without any prior investigation. It attempts to create a data base of people who had lived in Assam before the cut-off date in 2010 was mired by chaos, police firing and it had to be stopped.

"Hoque was never approached by any investigation agency and now he is being accused of being an "illegal immigrant".

This entire exercise of finding the data, putting it at one place and asking citizens to prove their citizenship.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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