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‘This Is What I Get For Serving My Nation'? Defence Veterans Put On Hold in NRC Draft Demand Justice

The protest by the veterans comes ahead of the Standard Operating Procedure for claims and objections related to the draft NRC being finalised in the next Supreme Court hearing on August 28.

Karishma Hasnat | News18.com

Updated:August 24, 2018, 8:10 PM IST
‘This Is What I Get For Serving My Nation'? Defence Veterans Put On Hold in NRC Draft Demand Justice
Illustration by Mir Suhail/News18

Guwahati: Defence veterans in Assam who have been left out of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) draft have termed the reasons for their exclusion ‘misleading’ and ‘humiliating’.

The protest by the veterans comes ahead of the Standard Operating Procedure for claims and objections related to the draft NRC being finalised in the next Supreme Court hearing on August 28.

Mohammed Sanaullah, a retired honorary captain of the Indian Army from Kolohikas village in Kamrup district has been ‘put on hold’ in the draft as he has a case pending against him at the Boko Foreigners’ Tribunal (FT). However, Sanaullah was stunned to know that the case number mentioned by the NRC authorities does not exist in his name.

Speaking to News 18, the veteran said he does not know the person under whose name the case has been found registered. “I was told that there’s a pending case against me at the Foreigner’s Tribunal in Boko. I tried to trace the case at the office of the superintendent of police (border), Kamrup Rural, the Foreigners’ Tribunal in Ulubari as well as in Boko, and finally found out from the Boko FT that the case cited concerns somebody named Md Samsul Hoque of Agchiya Village, Boko. I don’t even know who he is. It’s so misleading,” said Sanaullah.

The 51-year-old retired soldier, who served the army for 30 years, had taken part in three counter-insurgency operations in Doda district and near the Line of Control in Tangdhar sector of Kupwara district in Jammu and Kashmir from 2015 to 2017. He was also part of counter-insurgency operations at Leimakhong in Imphal West district of Manipur from 2007-2010.

“This is harassment of indigenous people. No one in my family has made it to the list. It’s all manipulated. After serving the nation for so many years, this is what I get?” asked Sanaullah.

Retired army JCO Azmal Hoque, who served the nation for three decades, has also been ‘put on hold’ but the 58-year-old — who termed the process harassing and humiliating — is optimistic that he will clear the citizenship test.

“They said I have a case pending at the Foreigners’ Tribunal in Boko. But there’s no record of any case against my name in the tribunal. I have searched and the staff at the tribunal also looked for the particular case number but to no avail. This is very shocking. I was declared an Indian citizen by the FT in 2017 after I was wrongly declared a D-Voter,” said Hoque.

Hoque’s two children have also been left out of the list. While his son studies at the prestigious Rashtriya Indian Military College (RIMC) in Dehradun, his daughter is a student of the Army School in Guwahati.

Among other mandatory documents, Hoque had submitted the 1966 Legacy Data of his father and 1951 Legacy Data of his mother. Hoque’s younger brother and his family also failed to make it to the list though his elder brother and family, who submitted the same Legacy Data as linkage proof, have been included.

Questioning the government’s commitment towards providing security to ex-servicemen, former Indian Air Force sergeant Sadullah Ahmed said he was experiencing mixed emotions on being ‘put on hold’.

Three members of Ahmed’s family serve in the Indian Army at present and the veteran said the least the government could have done for them was not subject them to such “repeated humiliation”.

The reason behind 49-year old Sadullah’s exclusion is the same as that of several other veterans — a pending case in the Foreigner’s Tribunal. His two sons have also been left out of the list.

“We are a big family of 40 people. I am the youngest among three brothers and five sisters. Thirty-five members of my family have their names in the draft, and five of us have been left behind. Why? We had all submitted the same Legacy Data. We want justice,” said Sadullah.

The veterans alleged that their omission from the final draft was arbitrary and erroneous. Of the over 40 lakh people not included in the list, 2.48 lakh have been identified as Doubtful Voters (D-Voters) and their descendants and siblings.

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