The family of a mentally unstable man who died on Sunday while in detention after being declared a foreigner in Assam's Tezpur, has refused to accept his body unless the administration declares him a citizen.
65-year-old Dulal Chandra Paul, who was from Alisinga village of Sonitpur district, died at Guwahati Medical College on Sunday after an illness.
The state government has ordered a probe into the matter after over 10,000 locals blocked roads and staged dharnas.
"Since the state has declared him a foreigner, they should hand over his body to Bangladesh. We will accept the body only if the government issued a statement that Paul was not a foreigner but an Indian," the man's eldest son Ashish told NDTV.
The family says Dulal Chandra Paul was declared a foreigner in 2017 in an ex-parte judgment despite being mentally unstable.
The state government has sent several delegations to his village for past four days to convince the family members and the villagers to accept the body.
"He has been declared a foreigner by the tribunal so it is beyond the scope of the administration to even discuss on their demand. We can help them with legal aid if their want to challenge the tribunal decision in higher court. We are trying for headway in this case," Sonitpur Deputy Commissioner Manvendra Pratap Singh told NDTV.
According to official sources, Mr Paul was being treated for diabetes and psychiatric ailments and was examined by doctors of the Tezpur Medical College and Hospital (TMCH) on October 11 and brought back to the detention centre the same day.
What has angered his family and villagers the most is the fact that the prison department officials came with a document to hand over the body which allegedly mentioned him as a 'declared foreigner'. His residential address column was left blank.
"They know the address very well yet kept it empty. We presume that later they would put some fictitious address in Bangladesh. So if he is Bangladeshi, why sent his to us? They should send the body to Bangladesh," his son added.
The administration is now looking at options to wait for a day or two and see what previsions are there to cremate the body without the consent of the family, official sources further added.
Over 19 lakh people have been left out of the National Register of Citizens; the window period for final appeal at tribunals is expected to start in November.
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