News & Information From Northeast India

Assam Congress to extend legal aid to woman declared ‘foreigner’

The Assam Congress has decided to extend legal aid to Amila Shah, recently declared a foreigner by a tribunal in the state and sent to a detention camp.

Leader of Opposition Debabrata Saikia from the Congress party said that they will help Shah, who had her roots in Bihar, at a press interaction in Guwahati on Thursday. “We are exploring legal options to help her,” Saikia said.

The name of Amila, wife of Ram Dulal Shah, a trader based in the Dhalaibeel area near Jamugurihat in the Sonitpur district, did not appear in the draft National Register of Citizens (NRC) published last year.

Shah’s family members, whose names were there in the draft NRC, claimed that their ancestors had settled in Assam during the British rule.

Meanwhile, Madhubala Mondal, 59, a resident of the Chirang district, was released from the detention camp on Wednesday. Mondal, picked up by the police in March 2016 instead of one Madhubala Das, was sent to a detention camp by a Foreigners’ Tribunal.

Madhubala had to spend three years in the detention camp without any fault of her.

Saikia said the party would demand punishment for officials responsible for such goof-ups in investigation that had caused suffering to many people during the process of updating of the NRC.

“Due to negligence of officials, several Indians are declared foreigner. There has to be action against them,” he said.

“If a person is punished for submitting forged documents, an official committing such goof ups and harassing people must be handed over exemplary punishment.” the Congress leader said. “Due to vested and partisan interests of a section of people, genuine Indians are being harassed,” he said.

Saikia had last year engaged advocates Syed Burhanur Rahman, Aman Wadud and SSS Rahman to fight in the Gauhati High Court case of Dinesh Prajapati and Tara Prajapati, residents of Pakharijan in the Tinsukia district.

While the court did not accept Dinesh Prajapati’s claim of being from Ballia in UP, it directed for his release from the detention camp and allowed him to enrol at the Foreigner Regional Registration Office (FRRO) at Tinsukia.

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