High-Level Enquiry Should Be Constituted Against Foreigners' Tribunals, Says Man Whose 30 Family Members Excluded From NRC
New Delhi, September 10 — Shajahan Ali Ahmed helped thousands of people in filing NRC forms and submitting the documents in the last four years but when the final list of Assam’s citizens register was released on August 31 this year, 30 out of 33 members of Ahmed’s family, including Ahmed himself, found their names missing from the list. In all, 19 lakh people have been excluded from the NRC Assam.
Talking to IndiaTomorrow.net on the sidelines of a public tribunal on NRC Assam in New Delhi on Sunday, Ahmed who hails from the Baksa district in Assam, demanded a high-level enquiry against the Foreigners’ Tribunals which, he said, has declared even genuine Indians as foreigners.
After the publication of the NRC list, the government has asked the 19 lakh excluded people to prove their bona fide citizenship of India before the Foreigners’ Tribunals within four months. However, Ahmed is not sure people will get justice from these tribunals.
“People are in fear because they do not get justice from Foreigners’ Tribunals. These Foreigners’ Tribunals are example of injustice. There should be high-level enquiry against them. Many of the officers are corrupt. They are linked with Home Department. They are under political pressure. Consequently, Foreigners’ Tribunals have become machinery for declaring genuine Indian citizens as foreigners. That is why we have lost trust in Foreigners’ Tribunals. If the system is not corrected and work is not done lawfully, then people will lose hope. Genuine Indian citizens are scared and I am also frightened because we do not get justice from the Foreigners’ Tribunals,” said Ahmed.
He charged that since the BJP came to power in Assam, the functioning of Foreigners’ Tribunals has changed.
“Earlier, Foreigners’ Tribunals would work well and people would get justice from them. Between 1997 and 2012, some 83% of judgments would go in favour of victims, i.e. they were declared Indians, but now 90% of people are being declared foreigners and the number of ex-parte judgment has also gone up. The reason is that the new government (of BJP) is running Foreigners’ Tribunals differently. Old and new judgments of Foreigners’ Tribunals should be compared to check the differences. And a high-level enquiry should be set up against Foreigners’ Tribunals,” demanded Ahmed.
Why 30 Members of My Family Excluded Despite Having Legacy Data of 1951?
Ahmed says he and his family have all required documents, yet they were not included in the NRC.
“Out of 33 members of my family, only 3 were included in the final list of NRC while 30 were excluded. We had used the legacy data of 1951 and the legacy data of our grandfather Muksid Ali. We have linkage documents and there are no clerical mistakes in the documents. Yet, in 2018, our family tree was rejected. We challenged it and we all 33 people appeared in hearing before the officials for whole one year. We spent lot of money. Yet, our family was excluded in the final list of NRC released on August 31 this year,” says Ahmed.
Ahmed’s Network of 5,000 Volunteers Helped Lakhs of People:
“We have been in the field since 2015 when the NRC process started. We took up the issues of the people and gave them guidance. We erected a network of 5,000 volunteers, motivated them and prepared them to help the people file applications for inclusion in NRC. I think there is a conspiracy behind exclusion of our names,” says Ahmed.
We have More Documents Than Those Who Call Us Termites Have:
Without naming BJP chief and Union Home Minister Amit Shah who has more than once called alleged Bangladeshi infiltrators as ‘termites,’ Ahmed says that majority of those excluded from NRC have all required genuine documents.
“People outside Assam think that all 19 lakh people excluded from NRC are foreigners. We have land documents of 1934 and all other documents. Those who call us termites don’t have as many documents as we have. I challenge those people to show 1934 documents,” says Ahmed.
How Many Of Excluded 19 Lakh People Could Be Genuine Indians?
Responding to the question, Ahmed said: “I have been working in the field for past 10 years. NRC process started four years ago. I swear I have not come across a single person who does not have documents from before 1971. My network has interacted with lakhs of people. We have a youtube channel from where we get people’s calls and WhatsApp messages showing their documents. We physically visit them. None of them said they don’t have required documents.”
“I can make you understand it in a simple way. People are given tokens and asked to stand in queue to collect food. If you don’t have that token, will you still stand in the line? Similarly, only those people who have documents applied for NRC. Those who don’t have such documents didn’t apply.”
He added: “A psychological problem has been created that thousands of people from Bangladesh enter Assam every day. This is completely false. If Foreigners’ Tribunals work lawfully, only 3-5 lakh out of the 19 lakh people could be found wanting for required documents. Not more than five lakh. My experience tells me. If Foreigners’ Tribunals work lawfully, the world will know if there are foreigners or not. Those who are foreigners had not applied for inclusion in NRC.”