65-Year-Old Man Declared As Foreigner Dies In Assam Detention Camp, Kin Says Send Body To Bangladesh
A 65-year-old resident of Dhekiajuli, Sonitpur in Assam district who was declared foreigner and was living in a detention camp died at the Guwahati Medical College and Hospital on Sunday.
According to his family members, Dulal Chandra Paul was declared foreigner by a tribunal two years ago despite having required documents. Since then he was lodged in a detention camp in Tezpur.
Dulal’s nephew, Sandhan Paul told The Indian Express that his father was put in a detention camp despite his family having land documents dating back to 1960. “He was mentally unstable. His siblings and their families are in the NRC. A mentally-unstable person was put into detention,” he said.
When the authorities tried to return the body to the family for last rites, they refused it, demanding Dulal to be declared as an Indian citizen first. “My father was sent to the detention centre in 2017 after he was branded a Bangladeshi. Now that he is dead, why is the government forcing us to accept his body? Let them send his body to Bangladesh,” said his son while talking to The Times of India.
The incident triggered protests in the Dhekiajuli area on Monday. Members of the All Assam Bengali Youth Students’ Federation and locals blocked the arterial National Highway 15 for three hours demanding that he be declared an Indian first. A spokesperson of the Bengali students’ federation said a police team headed by an additional SP promised to “undo the injustice” to Paul and provide compensation to the bereaved family.
Along with Dulal, 26 deaths have been reported from six detention centres in the Assam in the last three years. All of them were declared as ‘illegal immigrants’ by Assam’s Foreigners’ Tribunals (FTs) and were lodged in detention camps. The reason for all the deaths is mentioned as “due to illness” as per data presented in the Assembly by state Parliamentary Affairs Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary.
“Due to illness, these people lodged in detention camps were admitted to hospitals after which they died. None of the bodies were sent to Bangladesh,” Patowary had said.