GUWAHATI: Even as the family of declared “foreigner” Dulal Paul has kept refusing to receive his body, the Assam government on Wednesday ordered a magisterial probe into his death.
Official sources said the investigation would be conducted by an Additional Deputy Commissioner. Earlier, a Bengali students’ organisation submitted a memorandum to the government demanding a probe into the death of the 64-year-old.
Paul, who was declared a foreigner by a Foreigners’ Tribunal and sent to the Tezpur detention camp on October 11, 2017, died at the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) on Sunday. He was being treated for diabetes besides psychiatric and kidney-related ailments. At the time of his arrest, he was mentally unstable.
His family members are refusing to receive the body. The family has demanded that the government should first issue a certified copy declaring that the deceased, who lived in Alisinga village of Dhekiajuli in Sonitpur district, was an Indian citizen and not an illegal immigrant.
Officials of the district administration have kept visiting the residence in a bid to convince the family. It on Wednesday asked the state’s BJP-led government to find out Paul’s nationality before pressuring it to receive the body. The locals too have raised similar demand.
“Politicians and senior government officials have kept visiting us and requesting us to receive the body but we have told them that our father has to be first declared, in writing, that he was an Indian and not a foreigner,” Paul’s son Ashish told this newspaper.
“The Foreigners’ Tribunal had declared him as a foreigner. Let the government find out the truth. If it cannot do that, it should kill us all and dispose of the bodies, including that of our father,” Ashish added.
The Sarbananda Sonowal government had faced a similar resistance last year when a declared foreigner from Central Assam’s Nagaon district, who had died in detention. His family had refused to receive the body and insisted it is sent to Bangladesh. Eventually, it received the body after being persuaded by the local MLA and others.