GUWAHATI: A woman in Assam, who traces her roots in Bihar, was declared a “foreigner” by the Foreigners’ Tribunal and sent to a detention camp for the illegal immigrants.
Amila Shah, 45, was arrested on June 15 and sent to the Tezpur detention camp in northern Assam’s Sonitpur district. Her family wondered how a Bihari woman could be an illegal immigrant.
Except for Amila, the names of all her family members, which include three brothers and five sisters, appeared on the draft National Register of Citizens (NRC). The Foreigners’ Tribunal suspected her nationality last year based on a report of the Border Police.
“On June 4 last year, the Foreigners’ Tribunal served a notice on her asking her to depose before it for a hearing. After she appeared before it, she was granted bail. However, on June 15 this year, she was arrested by the police when she had visited the office of the Tribunal in connection with her case,” said Amila’s brother, Ramesh Gupta.
He said his sister had submitted various documents such as her PAN card, school and birth certificates besides a document showing their father’s name in the NRC of 1951.
Gupta, who is the manager of a petrol station, said his father, Keshab Prasad, had migrated to Assam’s Biswanath Chariali in 1946 and married a woman of his community a few years later. He said he and all his siblings, including Amila, were born and raised at Pratapgarh Tea Estate in Biswanath Chariali.
“She was born in the tea garden and studied here up to primary level. She started living in a village at Jamuguri in Sonitpur district following her marriage,” the brother said.
“We have our ancestral home in Patna. How can a Bihari woman be an illegal immigrant?” he asked.
The local committee of the CPI-M in Biswanath Chariali has condemned Amila’s detention and demanded her release at the earliest.
The NRC in Assam is being updated based on March 24, 1971 cut-off date. This means individuals, who migrated to India illegally after March 24, 1971 and settled down here, will be viewed as illegal immigrants.