GUWAHATI: A woman in Assam has been sent to a detention camp for illegal immigrants by the Foreigners Tribunal as she allegedly ignored its three notices seeking her appearance.
The woman, Dolly Roy (45), hails from Golaghat district. Her family members claimed they did neither receive the notices nor were aware of them. They blamed their legal counsel, Debabrata Paul, for not informing them of the notices which sought her appearance in February, March and April this year.
However, Paul said such notices are sent to families and not advocates. He said Dolly’s family was now paying a price for taking the notices very lightly.
The incident comes just days after Kargil War veteran Md Sanaullah was granted bail by the Gauhati High Court after he had been declared a “foreigner” by the Foreigners’ Tribunal and sent to a detention camp in Lower Assam’s Goalpara.
Dolly’s family claimed she was born in Lower Assam’s Barpeta district and she possessed several documents to prove her Indian citizenship. The case dates back to 2010 when she was categorised as a “D” or “doubtful” voter by the authorities.
“We have been fighting the case since 2010 when she was suspected as a doubtful voter. Those days, she used to depose before the Foreigners’ Tribunal in Golaghat but the magistrate would never be there. The same thing went on when the case was later transferred to the Foreigners’ Tribunal of Jorhat,” Dolly’s son Sagarjit told this newspaper.
He said the suspicion of the authorities on her mother’s citizenship had grown when the process to update the National Register of Citizens (NRC) began.
“We submitted several documents such as a copy of the 1951 NRC containing the name of our maternal grandfather Mantu Charan Saha. His name figured on the voters’ lists of 1966 as well as 1971. The Tribunal was still not satisfied and it asked for one more document but we had nothing else to submit,” Sagarjit said.
The NRC is being updated based on March 24, 1971 cut-off date. This means individuals, who migrated to India after March 24, 1971, will be viewed as illegal immigrants.
Sagarjit said his grandfather’s name appearing differently in various documents as Mantu Charan Saha, Mantu Kumar Saha and Mantu Saha had strengthened the Tribunal’s suspicion in the case.
“My mother has been sent to the detention camp for nine days till June 19. Let’s see what the Tribunal says on June 20. We are trying to secure bail for her,” he added.