GUWAHATI: A centurion in Assam has been granted bail by a foreigners’ tribunal. Others do not meet such fate.
Chandradhar Das, 102, who hails from southern Assam’s Barak Valley, spent nearly three months at a detention camp for illegal immigrants. He has been for long-suffering from dementia and was granted bail on humanitarian ground.
Das was arrested by the Border Police which is entrusted with the task of detecting illegal immigrants. Subsequently, his case was referred to the Foreigners’ Tribunal 6 (FT-6). In its judgement on January 2, the tribunal said it had given enough opportunity to Das to prove with documentary evidence that he is an Indian, not an illegal Bangladeshi immigrant.
Last week, the Unconditional Citizenship Demand Forum, a Barak Valley-based group, had petitioned the district authorities seeking his release.
“We learnt about his condition from his daughter Niyati Roy who had approached us recently. We wanted that he gets treatment and is cared for in the twilight of his life. So, we met Cachar Deputy Commissioner (District Magistrate) S Lakshmanan on Tuesday and sought his help,” the forum’s leader Kamal Chakraborty told The New Indian Express.
Lakshmanan said realising the sensitivity of the case, the FT-6 member whom the district authorities had approached, granted bail on humanitarian ground. It was granted also on legal count as the tribunal had been without a government pleader for long to handle such cases, he said.
Following his release, Das was taken to a hospital and discharged on Thursday morning.
“We are very happy to get him back home. The time spent in the detention camp would have been very difficult for him had he not been a patient of dementia,” the centurion’s daughter said. She claimed that her father was an Indian, and not a Bangladeshi, as evident from his possessing a citizenship certificate which was issued in 1966 by the authorities in neighbouring Tripura.
Das was lodged at the Silchar Central Jail where 108 others men and women are cooling their heels following their conviction as illegal immigrants by foreigners’ tribunals. Currently, six jails in the state house 986 ‘declared foreigners’.
Chakraborty alleged that people, who are illiterate, poor and know nothing about documents, are often harassed by Border Police on the suspicion that they are illegal Bangladeshi immigrants.