New Delhi: Less than two months after a retired Army officer was branded as Bangladeshi by the Assam Police before having to apologize, a retired Army havaldar has been sent a notice, seeking proof of his Indian citizenship.
Mahiruddin Ahmed, a retired Army havaldar, has been served a notice from the Foreigners Tribunal in Barpetta, Assam. The Tribunal has asked him to appear on November 6 with the proof of citizenship.
Ahmed’s lawyer Mustafa Khaddam is planning to approach the welfare division of Army for relief. Khaddam, who has handled a number of such cases, said “the root cause of the problem was police action without preliminary verification or investigation.”
DGP Mukesh Sahay said the SP of Barpeta has been asked to conduct an inquiry into the matter and send a report to the DGP's office.
In late September, a retired army officer Mohd Azmal Hoque was served a notice, accusing him of being an illegal migrant from Bangladesh. After media outrage, the Army stepped in and Assam police ‘apologized for the mistake’. However, the fresh case shows that Assam Police hasn’t learned from its mistakes.
Ahmed was last posted at the Field Ordinance Depot, Bhatinda in Punjab. Born in January 1964, he cleared Assam High School Leaving Certificate Exam in 1980. He joined Indian Army in 1986 and retired from services in 2004.
Ahmed’s wife Husaniara has also been asked to prove her citizenship. This despite the fact that her father’s name appeared in the voters’ list of 1966, while the cutoff year under the Assam Accord is 1971. Ahmed’s elder brother is a retired Assistant Sessions Judge, while his younger brother works with BSNL.
Khaddam said, “If Army and judiciary, two services which have the greatest scrutiny, didn’t find a problem with Ahmed family’s citizenship, how come the Assam Police are sending such notices?”
There are 100 tribunals set up in Assam under the Foreigner (Tribunal) Order of 1964 to determine the status of those whose citizenship is doubtful. All those who have come to Assam illegally after 1971 are deported. More than 52,000 people have been declared foreigners by the tribunals so far.