GUWAHATI: An Assam woman languishing in the Kokrajhar detention camp for illegal immigrants in a case of mistaken identity finally walked free on Wednesday.
Madhubala Mandal was released after the police admitted to their goof-up before the Foreigners’ Tribunal. However, there is no clarity on who will pay for detaining an innocent woman for nearly three years.
The 59-year-old Madhubala was sent to the detention camp in 2016 as the police mixed up her name with “Madhumala Das” of the same village in Lower Assam’s Chirang district.
Chirang Superintendent of Police, Sudhakar Singh, said a police official had been sent to the detention camp with a copy of the court’s order to bring the woman.
“There are three women of the same name in the village. During the course of an enquiry, the facts came out. It was a case of mistaken identity,” Singh admitted.
He refused to comment when asked if action will be taken against the investigating officer in the case.
The media had reported extensively on how an innocent woman was made to languish in the detention camp due to lapses by the police. The notice by the Foreigners’ Tribunal in 2016 was issued in the name of Madhumala Das but the police had picked up Madhubala Mandal.
Recently, Singh had told The New Indian Express: “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”.
According to locals, Madhumala Das and her husband Makhan Nama Das had 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, suggested her 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,” she said.