NEW DELHI: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Wednesday issued notice to the Assam government over allegations of harassment of people in the name of verification of their nationality.
Taking sou motu cognisance of media reports, the commission said that due to illegal immigration from Bangladesh, the people of Bengali origin have been under scanner for years and the Assam government has set up Foreigners' Tribunals to deal with doubtful cases.
The Commission said that there are detention centres in Assam, where the people under scanner are lodged in two categories, Bangladeshis and D (Doubtful)-Voters.
In many cases, a person declared an Indian citizen is again served notice by the police.
The Commission made it clear that the steps taken to identify suspected cases of illegal immigration and setting up of Foreigners' Tribunals is a policy perspective of the government and it would not like to intervene into the matter.
"But the allegations that in the name of verification, the poor people are being subjected to harassment and humiliation is a matter of concern for the Commission, as it amounts to violation of right to equality and dignity of the innocent victims," said the commission in a statement.
The Commission said it has also learnt that at the time of hearing, the subjects are not allowed to wear their shoes and they have to enter barefoot, inside the Court, while the government officers and advocates are exempted.
"A specific case of one Moinal Molla has been mentioned in the media report. His parents, wife, children, brother and rest of the family are Indians and still his citizenship was rejected by the authorities," said the commission, adding that he has spent more than two years at a detention centre.
It was only after intervention by the apex court that justice was done in his case.
"As mentioned in the report, there are 89,395 people estimated as illegal immigrants in Assam till August 2017 and currently there are more than 2,000 people languishing in the detention centres, across the State, who are, allegedly, being subjected to discrimination," said the commission.