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Tale of a family who lost their kin fighting Bangladeshi tag

UDALGURI,Assam,July 8: Even as Assam awaits the much hyped final draft of the updated National Register of Citizens (NRC) a register containing names of Indian citizens.The fear and apprehension of genuine Bengali Hindu citizens of state being brandished as D-voter,being served notice from Foreigner’s Tribunal to prove citizenship haunts the lower middle class people of Hindu Bengali community.According to sources, the lower middle class segment – who can hardly afford two square meals a day – are ‘selling off their property’ to pay lawyers vis-a-vis to prove their citizenship.The authorities entrusted with detecting and deporting illegal Bangladeshi nationals in Assam seems to be on an ‘overdrive’ when it comes to serving notices to families suspected to be ‘D voters’. The travails which a family in Nichilamari Village (near Khoirabari under Tangla Police Station) in Udalguri district of Assam went through is bound to raise eyebrows as to the working of the entire Government machinery – especially when it comes to tracking D-voters.Can one imagine the ordeal of poverty striken
genuine Indian family who lost their kin for the detrimental policies of the government.

The family members of Gopal Das a sexagenarian have been repeatedly harassed to prove their citizenship. While his elder son,Narayan Das(32) was the first to get a notice from Foreigners Tribunal,Mangaldai way back in December 2,2007,his wife Joymoti Das(53) received similar notice on 29 November 2008 from Foreigners Tribunal,Mangaldai. This time it was his second son Ganesh Das(35) who received similar notice on May 6,2013 from Foreigners Tribunal,Mangaldai. Even after the three family members despite have their voter electoral of 1965 had to run from pillar to post had to spend scores of money for legal aid were declared Indian citizens.The harassment didn’t end here finally it was turn of Gopal Das who was served notice from Foreigners Tribunal,Udalguri on November 2017 to prove his citizenship. The sole bread winner of the family Gopal Das had been under acute mental trauma to prove his citizenship,he had reportedly spent nearly Rs.15000 for lawyers fee,he had nothing more to pay the lawyer,moreover the fear and apprehension that his name would not figure in final draft of NRC had frustrated the sexagenarian to the core,purportedly under acute pressure,he allegedly committed suicide near his residence at Nislamari village on June 11 midnight.

Das a daily wage earner allegedly consumed poison and ended his life leaving his four member family.The incident had invited the wrath of locals who gathered in large number on the day of incident and raised slogans against the government.Talking to this correspondent,wife of the deceased Joymoti Das expressed her resentment for being the victim of the so called investigation of Election commission, who arbitrarily accused and harassed the family of being “doubtful voters”. “We lost our father,who will look after our family now”,resented the elder son Narayan Das. On the condition of anonymity, a Guwahati based scribe said investigation agencies have their own compulsion. They have to fulfill the targets of government and arbitrarily serve notices to people,so as to appease the collective conscience of the majority. President of the influential Bengali students body All Assam Bengali

Youth Students Federation(AABYSF), Kamal Chaudhary alleged that the Border police has been harassing the genuine people of Koch-Rajbongshi,Bengali and religious minority community. “Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal should intervene them or the state government’s utter failure in safeguarding the interest of genuine citizens would be exposed.” Chaudhary added.

Meanwhile, the police officials of Udalguri are tight lipped to state whether the suicide of Gopal Das is linked with NRC.” It is too early to link the suicide with NRC. “The facts will come out only after proper investigation,” said a top cop of Udalguri police. The case of Gopal Das should be an eye opener for the government and investigation agencies. Let the investigation agency go after illegal immigrants and not hound and harass genuine Indian citizens in the name of illegal immigrants.

Shajid Khan is an Independent journalist based in Udalguri.In his stint of journalistic experience he has contributed numerous political, socio-political stories for bountiful national,international as well as Assam based publications. He also pens down analytic commentary on print and web based publications. He can be reached at itsshajidkhan@gmail.com

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