Assam Police asks retired Army personnel to prove Indian citizenship

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Mohd Azmal Hoque, a Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) who retired from service on September 30, 2016, told reporters yesterday that he had received the notice placing him in the doubtful-voter category.

The notice stated that the district police have alleged that Haque, who retired as a Junior Commissioned Officer a year ago, entered Assam illegally without documents after March 25, 1971.

For 30 years he served the Indian Army.

The foreigner's tribunal asked Azmal to appear before the court before Sept 11 in the case no BFT 1082/2016, but he received the notice after the expiry date. The tribunal is likely to hear the case on October 13. It may be mentioned that in the month of June, Assam police constable Abu Taher Ahmed received a letter from the Foreigners' Tribunal asking him to prove his Indian citizenship. "I request the Prime Minister, the President, and the Home Minister to end this harassment of a proper citizen", Hoque told CNN-News18.

In Assam there are 100 foreigners' tribunals set up to detect illegal immigrants, especially those who entered India after creation of Bangladesh. A foreigners' tribunal later held him an Indian citizen.

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Haque who joined the Indian Army in 1986 said that all his documents were verified by police before he was inducted into the army. Haque wondered why he had to be humiliated so many times. We have proved all the documents to the court to prove our India citizenship.

The Indian Army's East Command contacted Haque and has promised to all necessary assistance till the matter is solved. "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, lawyer-activist from Assam who has taken up Hoque's case, said that he has dealt with similar cases of government officials, who have spent years on the job, being asked to furnish details without any prior investigation. My mother Rahimon Nesa's name was also included in the 1951 National Register of Citizens (NRC).

Earlier in 2012 Haque was accused of being an illegal immigrant in 2012 by Foreigns' Tribunal. Unlike the criminal cases, in cases related to the Foreigners' Tribunal, the onus of proving one's citizenship lies with the individual.

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