GOALPARA (ASSAM): As a lawyer, Monowar Hussain helped scores of people whose nationality was questioned by various agencies and tribunals, get declared as Indian citizens. Now the former lawmaker’s fate hangs in the balance as the National Register of Citizens (NRC) officials have put a question mark on his Indian-ness.
Hussain, who was the All India United Democratic Front’s MLA from Goalpara East Assembly segment between 2011 and 2016, has received a notice from NRC authorities on the suspicion that he is not an Indian.
While applying for the inclusion of his name in the updated NRC, Hussain, 72, had mentioned his father’s name as ZHM Mohiuddin. He did not submit any document to establish his relationship with his father because Hussain had his name in the NRC of 1951. However, an error in the 1951 document, where it is written that he is the son of Mohiuddin Ahmed, made NRC officials suspicious.
“They doubt if the Monowar Hussain of 1951 NRC and I are the same person. They served me a notice on December 8 and two days later, NRC officials visited my house for re-verification of documents. This is nothing but humiliation. In a democratic country, where people are the source of all powers, a citizen is being harassed. Had they been careful, this would not have happened. They should know I am a former lawmaker,” he says.
He adds: “Preparing voters’ list or NRC is the duty of the state, not of the citizens. When I write my father’s name, shall I write the name of another person? No self-respecting man will do so. My self-respect has been hurt.”
Asked if he thinks his name will figure in updated NRC, Hussain says, “I am not sure about it. If it is not there, I will wait to see if it gets included in subsequent phases. They (NRC officials) have told me it is a part draft NRC and there will be two subsequent phases. But eventually, if I miss the bus, I will have to take legal recourse.”
Hussain did his Class XII in 1962 and graduation in 1965, both from Goalpara. He did his LLB from Gauhati University in 1970 and received a certificate from the Bar Council of India.
As per law, Bangladeshis, who entered Assam illegally after March 24, 1971, are to be deported. “His academic certificates are enough to prove that he is an Indian citizen. These documents were issued by government institutions,” his son-in-law, Fazluzzaman Mazumdar, argues.
Hussain’s younger brother, Adil Hussain, is an acclaimed actor who has acted in films like Life of Pi, and received the Special Jury Award at the 2017 National Film Awards. (Tomorrow: Ethnic groups insist enumeration of immigrants should be beyond religion)