GUWAHATI: A woman in Assam has been sent to a detention centre for illegal immigrants as the police apparently mixed up her name “Madhubala” with “Madhumala”.
Madhubala Mandal (59) was picked up by the police from her home in 2016 and sent to a detention centre for illegal immigrants in Kokrajhar on the charge that she is a “foreigner”. She is still languishing there.
The three-year-old case, which went unnoticed, has suddenly come to the fore after retired Army officer Md. Sanaullah was declared a foreigner and sent to a detention centre.
The Foreigners’ Tribunal had on March 5, 2016 issued a notice to “Madhumala” Das, wife of Makhan Nomo Das, of No 1 Bishnupur village in Assam’s Chirang district suspecting her to be a foreigner. The Tribunal asked her to depose before it on April 4 the same year and prove with documentary evidence that she is an Indian. However, soon the police picked up “Madhubala” Mandal, also of the same village, and sent her to the detention centre.
According to locals, Madhumala Das and her husband Makhan Nama Das died long before the notice to the former was issued by the Foreigners’ Tribunal.
Bhasani Mandal, whose husband is Madhubala’s brother, said her sister-in-law had been forced to suffer as the police made a grave mistake. Records in various documents, including PAN card, suggest the victim’s name as “Madhubala”.
“The Foreigners’ Tribunal had issued the notice in the name of Madhumala Das but the police arrested Madhubala and sent her to the detention centre,” Bhasani told The New Indian Express.
She said she had come to the village following her marriage over 30 years ago and she knew Madhumala.
“I knew Madhumala Das although I cannot recall if I ever met her husband. They died many years ago. The couple had a son, named Mantu, who was trampled to death by an elephant. Mantu’s child and his wife now live elsewhere,” Bhasani said.
The police denied any gaffe in the case.
“When the case was initiated, she was married to one Das. Following the death of her husband, she got married to one Mandal. Due to the change in her title, people are saying they are two different persons. When she was caught, it was verified,” Chirang Superintendent of Police Sudhakar Singh said.
However, Bhasani categorically said that Madhubala married just once. Her husband Ramakanta Mandal died a few years ago. Their only daughter is deaf and dumb.
“It is a clear case of goof-up. As we are poor, we haven’t been able to arrange a lawyer to fight our case in the court,” she added.