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Army to Provide Legal Assistance to Detained Veteran in Assam Declared 'Foreigner'

The Army has contacted two advocates to fight Mohammed Sanaullah's case in the Gauhati High Court and is also in touch with his family for help and support.

Karishma Hasnat | CNN-News18

Updated:May 31, 2019, 10:41 PM IST
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Army to Provide Legal Assistance to Detained Veteran in Assam Declared 'Foreigner'
File photo of retired Indian army soldier Mohammed Sanaullah from Kolohikas village in Kamrup district of Assam (CNN-News18)

Guwahati: Assam’s Directorate of Sainik Welfare (DSW) has come forward to provide legal assistance to Mohammed Sanaullah, a retired honorary captain of the Indian Army who was declared a ‘foreigner’ and sent to the Goalpara detention centre.

Standing with him, the Army has contacted two advocates to fight his case in the Gauhati High Court and is also in touch with his family for help and support.

Following media reports on the veteran’s detention, DSW officials approached the Kamrup (Rural) Superintendent of Police to seek permission to interact with Sanaullah at the North Guwahati police station. The 52-year-old from Kolohikas village in Kamrup district was declared a ‘foreigner’ by the Boko Foreigners’ Tribunal (FT) on May 23. He was detained by the police on Tuesday.

According to the Army, Sanaullah narrated the reasons leading to the tribunal verdict – primary among which was the variation in the year of enrolment in the Indian Army. Sanaullah said that his enrollment year as per documents is 1987. However, during the initial verification, the year of enrollment was recorded as 1978.

Sanaullah said the tribunal was of the view that it was not possible for an 11-year-old to enrol in the Army and held him for giving false information possibly to conceal identity or facts. He said the tribunal did not take into account any of his service documents that would have avoided the confusion.

Another reason stated was a mismatch in the personal and family details submitted by the Assam Border Police, which was recorded during his questioning in 2008, and his statement before the tribunal. Sanaullah said he was never summoned by the border police, and that he is “totally unaware” of any FIR filed against him in 2008 accusing him of being a “foreigner”.

Other reasons include discrepancy in the age of his mother and sister, with NRC records suggesting that his sister is older than his mother.

The court also passed the judgement taking into consideration a land document submitted by Sanaullah as evidence of citizenship - the land was found transferred to his name in 1977 when he was just 10 years old. The tribunal questioned how the land could be transferred in the name of a minor when his mother was still alive. Sanaullah's father had passed away in 1973.

Besides, it was also noted that the voter identification card issued to him in 1987 showed his age as 22 when actually he was 20 years old then.

After retiring as a soldier, Sanaullah had served as sub-inspector in the Assam Border Police at the Baihata Chariali police station under Kamrup rural district. In his military career, he took part in three counter-insurgency operations while being posted with 26 Rashtriya Rifles in Jammu and Kashmir’s Doda district and 33 Field Workshop in Kupwara near the Line of Control from 2015 to 2017. He was also part of CI operations in Imphal West district of Manipur from 2007 to 2010.

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