A retired junior commissioned officer in the Indian Army has been asked to prove his citizenship after serving the forces for 30 years.
Mohammed Azmal Haque from Assam was appointed by former President APJ Abdul Kalam in 1986 as a mechanical engineer in the army and has been asked by the foreigners tribunal to appear before the court on October 13 with documents to prove that he is not an illegal immigrant from Bangladesh living in India. The tribunal has listed him in the category of ‘doubtful voters.’
The foreigners tribunals were set up in Assam under the Foreigner (Tribunal) Order of 1964 to determine the status of citizens whose Indian nationality is found to be doubtful. Their aim is to identify illegal immigrants in the country. The first tribunal came into being in 1986 and as per 2015, the number has increased to 100 following the complaints about the rise in the number of cases related to alleged illegal migrants.
What does the tribunal say about Haque’s citizenship?
The notice sent to Haque says that he came to India in 1971 following the national and political upheaval in Bangladesh. However, Haque claims that his father Maqbool Ali was an Indian citizen and his name was in the 1966 voter’s list and also in village surveys in done in 1961-62. His mother Rahimon Nesa’s name was mentioned in the 1951 National Register of Citizens (NRC).
Lawyer Aman Wadud has shared on Twitter documents backing Haque’s claims. According to one of the documents, Azmal Haque was born in Kamrup district in 1968.
In 2012, his wife Mumtaz Begum also had to prove her Indian citizenship before one of the foreigners tribunals. Only after presenting the required documents was she deemed an Indian.
The humiliation does not stop here. Azmal Haque's wife was earlier accused as illegal immigrant. Tribunal held her an Indian citizen. pic.twitter.com/mbsGHnXSWL
In a video, Haque can be seen saying that the Assam Police’s treatment toward him is disheartening as he had dedicated his life to the nation for 30 years. “Why does this keep happening with my family without any cause or reason?” he said.
As reported by India Today, Haque claims to be a Khilonjia Axomiya – an identity for those who trace their origins in Assam. One of his sons is studying at the Rashtriya Indian Military College (RIMC), Dehradun. The RIMC is a feeder institution for the National Defence Academy, Indian Naval Academy and subsequently the Indian Armed Forces.
After the issue was brought to attention by lawyer Wadud, Major DP Singh notified the Eastern Command.
The Logical Indian community hopes that speedy action is taken to resolve the issue. Mohammed Azmal Haque has served as a JOC in the Indian Army for 30 years and such harassment of a serviceman is unacceptable. If the ones who have dedicated their lives to the nation are treated this way, it raises further concerns for the security of the common man.