Army man told to prove nationality

Guwahati: A retired soldier – who has served in the Indian Army for 30 years — has been accused of being an illegal immigrant by the Assam Police.  Mohd Azmal Haque, who retired as a Junior Commissioned Officer, has been served a notice by a Foreigners’ Tribunal in the state, asking him to prove his citizenship.

It has also charged him with having entered India in 1971 without proper documents, he said. Haque claims he was born in Kamrup district of Assam in 1968, and that his mother’s name features in the 1951 National Register of Citizens. “I have served the Indian Army for 30 years,” Haque said, adding that he had received the notice asking him to appear before a local tribunal on October 13 with relevant documents to prove his Indian citizenship.

The retired JCO said he had missed the first date of appearing before the tribunal on September 11 as he had received the notice after that date. He said, he will now appear before the tribunal on October 13. “In 2012 also, I had received a notice saying I was a doubtful voter but I submitted all documents in the tribunal court and it had declared me as an Indian citizen”, he said.

“Why do I have to be humiliated so many times? I request the prime minister, the president and the home minister to end this harassment of a bona fide citizen,” Haque said. He disclosed that he is not the first member of his family to have been served with such a notice. In 2012 his wife Mumtaj Begum was also summoned by the tribunal to prove her citizenship.

The issue was brought to the attention of the Army by a twitter post of lawyer Aman Wadud. Replying to Wadud’s tweet, Major DP Singh, notified the Eastern Command which said “necessary assistance will be provided to the veteran”. Meanwhile, Assam Director General of Police Mukesh Sahay has said that the police was looking into it.

“Many such Indian citizens are declared ‘foreigners’ for minor anomalies in their name and age in the voter lists,” claimed Wadud, who will appear for Haque in the tribunal. In a video tweeted by Wadud, Haque says that he is very disappointed and has “cried a lot” at the treatment being meted out to him.

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