ANOTHER ASSAM RESIDENT, SHAMSUL HAQUE, DECLARED ‘ILLEGAL’ AFTER SERVING 35 YEARS IN INDIAN AIR FORCE!

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Shamsul Haque Ahmed

SPECIAL STORY | ASSAM CITIZENSHIP REGISTER

In recent months and years, several such retired Muslim army veterans have been subjected to this humiliating “citizenship check,” as part of the state government’s so-called campaign against illegal immigrants.

Mumtaz Alam | Caravan Daily

GUWAHATI — Leave aside the poor and illiterate ordinary people of Assam, even the cream of the northeastern states Muslim society has not been spared the humiliation of the BJP government’s aggressive so-called citizenship check. From senior Muslim cops to Army veterans to Indian Air Force officials, many of them have been declared “illegal immigrant” over the past few weeks and days and been asked to “prove” their Indian citizenship. The Indian Air Force (IAF) veteran Shamsul Haque Ahmed is one such victim. At the end of the day though, the Foreigners Tribunal found their documents valid and was forced to declare them bona fide Indian citizens.

Ahmed served in the IAF for 35 years and retired as a sergeant in 2014. But soon after that, the Assam Police declared him an “illegal immigrant” and asked him to face scrutiny by the Foreigners Tribunal. According to the Guwahati-based lawyer Aman Wadud, Ahmed was declared ‘D-voter’ or “doubtful voter” way back in 1997 by the Election Commission even when he had been working for the Indian Air Force!

For 19 years, Ahmed remained disfranchised and humiliated for being a ‘doubtful citizen’ even when he had been serving in the Indian Air Force, said Wadud.

On 27th May 2016, the Foreigners Tribunal, after carefully perusing all his documents, declared him an Indian citizen.

Ahmed was declared ‘D-voter’ or “doubtful voter” way back in 1997 by the Election Commission even when he had been working for the Indian Air Force! However, on May 27, 2016, the Foreigners Tribunal, after carefully perusing all his documents, declared him an Indian citizen.

Who will pay for his two decades of humiliation and ordeal though,” asked the lawyer.

Also read: MY CITIZENSHIP BEING QUESTIONED AFTER SERVING 18 YEARS IN INDIAN ARMY’

Not only Ahmed, his wife was also accused of being an illegal immigrant. She was also declared an Indian citizen by the tribunal later. Ahmed is not a typical poor Assamese Muslim.  He is economically well off and his son and daughter are working in the United States.

In recent months and years, several such retired Muslim army veterans have been subjected to this humiliating “citizenship check,” as part of the state government’s so-called campaign against illegal immigrants.

Another veteran, Mahiruddin Ahmed, who served 18 years in the Indian Army and retired in 2004, had been served with citizenship notice in September this year. He was asked to prove his citizenship before the Foreigners Tribunal in Barpeta district of Assam on November 6th.

In October this year, another Indian Army veteran Azmal Haque who retired as Junior Commissioned Officer was served a similar notice. Haque had retired in Sep 2016 after serving the Army for full 30 years.

If those serving for years in the Indian Army, Indian Air Force and Assam Police are being asked to prove citizenship, imagine the plight of ordinary citizens of the state,” asks Wadud.

“Poor, illiterate citizens are being dragged to court without any prior notice or investigation. Election Commission of India and Assam Police do not give a damn about fundamental rights. If this is not a mockery of Indian Constitution, then what is,” the lawyer demands.

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