INTERVIEW | AMAN WADUD
In an exclusive interview with Caravan Daily, the Guwahati-based lawyer Aman Wadud blames the “majority appeasement” of various political parties for the victimisation of Assam’s Muslims, who have been increasingly facing a concerted campaign by Hindutva groups and the BJP government in the state.
GUWAHATI/NEW DELHI – The soft-spoken young lawyer Aman Wadud has emerged as a saviour for thousands of Assamese Muslims who have been facing an uncertain future with the Damocles’ sword of the so-called citizenship check hanging over their heads.
Wadud practices at the Guwahati High Court but has had a stint at the Supreme Court of India too. He has played a vital role in highlighting a number of cases in which Assamese Muslims, including many retired members of the Indian armed forces, have been declared “illegal immigrants” by the state police and asked to appear before the Foreigners Tribunal to prove their citizenship.
Wadud talks about his struggle for justice for Assam’s beleaguered Muslims and the larger issues underpinning the whole campaign against the minority community in an interview with Mumtaz Alam, Editor of Caravan Daily. Excerpts from the interview:
Caravan Daily: In this campaign against the so-called illegal immigrants, why are Assam’s elite Muslim citizens, even those who have served in police, Indian Army and Indian Air Force, being targeted?
Aman Wadud: Elite Muslims are not being targeted intentionally. The Election Commission and Border Police accuse genuine Indian citizens of being illegal immigrants without conducting any proper investigation. And that is the problem. Improper investigation often leads to the targeting of genuine citizens.
What will be its implications for those Muslims who have been serving in government services?
Most people dragged to Tribunal are held as Indian citizens. Those are held foreigners are mainly because of incompetent lawyers. When govt. servants receive notice, they engage competent lawyers, so losing is out of question.
What should the Assamese Muslims do to protect themselves from such harassment and humiliation?
This is a judicial process. It needs to be fought in the court. I do not see any political will to resolve this issue, as all political parties are hell-bent on appeasing the majority and to prove that there are “lakhs of illegal immigrants” in the state. The ground reality is that only genuine Indian citizens are being harassed in the name of tackling illegal immigrants.