Army veteran asked to prove Indian identity

Army veteran asked to prove Indian identity

Army veteran asked to prove Indian identity

In a shocking incident, a Foreigners' Tribunal in Assam has accused a retired Indian Army Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) of being an illegal immigrant from Bangladesh, and asked him to prove his Indian citizenship.

The notice said that Haque had entered the country without valid papers after March 25, 1971, the cutoff date for being eligible for Indian citizenship under the Assam Accord, and so he needed to prove that he was an Indian.

Haque, who lives in Chayyagaon, 70 km from Guwahati, received a notice in September from the foreigner's tribunal, according to reports. The Assam police have also registered a case against him, which will be heard by the foreigners' tribunal on October 13. In 2012, I got a notice saying I was a "doubtful foreigner", but I submitted all documents in the tribunal court which had declared me an Indian citizen. "I request the prime minister, the president and the home minister to end this harassment of a proper citizen".

Incidentally, his wife Mamataj Khanam was also served notice in 2012 when Azmal was still serving in the army.

The tribunal is sending notices as per a directive from the Supreme Court which states that Assam needs to upgrade its National Register of Citizens by December 31, 2017.

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Haque had retired as a Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) after serving the Army for 30 years.

Bangladeshi immigration is a sensitive issue in this northern state.

The Army's Eastern Command too has also pledged support to its retired officer. Why do I have to be humiliated so many times? At the time, the couple had to present documents to prove their citizenship.

"Hoque was never approached by any investigation agency and now he is being accused of being an "illegal immigrant". How could I have served in the Indian Army for so long if I was an illegal immigrant?" asked Haque, expressing his disappointment with the system.

Aman Wadud, Haque's lawyer, said that his client was never approached by any investigation agency. There was no communication from the Assam Government after the issue came to light in the media. Unlike criminal cases, in cases related to the Foreigners' Tribunal, the onus of proving one's citizenship lies with the individual.

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