Two months after a former army soldier was declared a foreigner and sent to a detention camp amid work on the National Register of Citizens (NRC) list in Assam, a Border Security Force officer and his wife are likely to face similar action on the orders of a foreigners tribunal.
The tribunal at Jorhat has declared Border Security Force Assistant Sub-Inspector Muzibur Rahman and his wife as "foreigners" and ordered the Assam police to arrest them. The development comes at a time when NRC authorities are struggling to meet an August 31 deadline set by the Supreme Court.
Mr Rahman, a resident of Udaypur-Mikipatty in Assam's Golaghat district, is currently posted in Punjab as part of the 144 battalion. According to sources, he and his wife were initially marked as "doubtful voters" by NRC authorities and referred to the Jorhat tribunal.
The BSF officer learnt about the judgment when he returned home on leave in July last week. Mr Rahman, a resident of Udaypur-Mikipatty in Assam's Golaghat district, is currently posted in Punjab as part of the 144 battalion. According to sources, he and his wife were initially marked as "doubtful voters" by the Election commission; later Assam border police had sent a reference case to the Jorhat tribunal.
"In 2018 in an ex party judgment he and his wife along with 26 others were declared foreigner in this same order. They are all from the same area. Rahman has already appealed to Gauhati high court on this. He is from Merapani of Golaghat district but works with BSF and posted outside .since he has already move the high court, we will now wait for the order from High Court, since the matter is sub-judice we will wait," said Additional Superintendent of Police of Golaghat Surjeet Singh Panesar.
The BSF officer learnt about the judgment only when his entire family was called for a NRC re-verification on August 5.
While his parents and his five siblings and their families made it to the draft NRC published last year, Muzibur Rahman's case was put on 'hold' since he is a declared foreigner.
"My son has been serving the country over three decades. He is an ASI with BSF and guards the border. How can he be foreigner? If we are Indian how can he be a foreigner. We have documents of land records since 1950s," said Muzibur Rahman's 88-year-old father, 88 Bapdhan Ali.
Assam has 100 foreigners tribunals to identify illegal immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh as part of the NRC exercise, and 200 new ones are expected to come up soon. The Supreme Court had earlier extended the NRC deadline by a month to ensure that the final list is free of errors.
In June, the Gauhati High Court granted bail to retired soldier Mohammed Sanaullah after he was declared a foreigner by a Guwahati tribunal and sent to a detention camp in western Assam's Goalpara. The 52-year-old is still fighting the case in court.