Guwahati, November 12 (IANS): Detention camps are a nightmare for many individuals in Assam who were declared foreigners by tribunals, but many of them were successful later in proving their Indian citizenship either in courts or appealing in the Foreigners Tribunal (FT).
There were plenty of cases in which the judgement was passed by the members of tribunals without hearing the deposition of the accused as they remain absent during the hearing.
“We have seen a number of times that a concerned person who was accused as an illegal foreigner does not have the information about his or her hearing dates in the Foreigners Tribunals. That is why they remain absent during the hearing process and later declared illegal foreigners by the tribunals,” a senior advocate of Gauhati High Court told IANS.
Ahalya Rani Das, a resident of Katigorah area in Assam’s Cachar district was unilaterally declared a foreigner by Tribunal No. 4 of Silchar in 2018. Challenging this opinion, Das approached the High Court.
A bench of Gauhati High Court Justices Manas Ranjan Pathak and Partha Jyoti Saikia, in an interim order, said that Ahalya cannot be arrested by the police, nor can she be deported and pushed to a detention camp, but she will have to appear before the Superintendent of Police (Border), Cachar.
The concerned Superintendent of Police (SP) will have to take the biometric information of the accused, as per the order by the court.
Ahalya Rani Das got some relief in view of the order of the High Court.
Nirpen Das, a resident of Dudhnai in Goalpara district, was declared a foreigner in 2022 by Tribunal No. 4 of Goalpara.
Challenging this order, Das filed a writ petition (WPC 1447/2023) in the Gauhati High Court.
In a recent order passed by the High Court, it is said that Nripen Das cannot be arrested or pushed to a detention camp; however, he has to appear before the SP (Border) of Goalpara and provide the biometric information.
Seven people from the same family of Jagiroad in Morigaon district were declared foreigners by the tribunal. Raychand Das, Suprabha Das, Ramjoy Das, Sanjay Das, Gopindra Das, Sanjit Das and Biswajit Das were declared as foreigners in the order of the Tribunal No. 1 of Morigaon.
A writ petition was filed in the High Court challenging the opinion of the tribunal. But Rayvhand Das died a few days later. It is said in his application that he came to India from the then East Pakistan in 1964 after being subjected to religious persecution. He also presented proof of his stay in the Goalpara relief camp.
Along with that the deceased has submitted the voter list of 1971 in which his name was mentioned. But there were some linkage issues with other family members and the Foreigners Tribunal declared all the family members as foreigners who have been illegally staying in India.
A bench of two justices Lanusungkum Zamir and Budi Habung of Gauhati High Court ordered the competent authorities to investigate the whole matter and send the case back to the Foreigners Tribunal (FT) for a review.