A very common dialogue that we have come across many times in a Bollywood flick – ‘Naam pe kiya rakha hai’, might have brushed past our side quite often, but not for Suchandra Goswami, a resident of Malugram in Silchar under Cachar district of Assam.
Thanks to Foreigners Tribunal (FT), D-Voter (Doubtful Voter) markings and quite recently the final draft National Register of Citizens (NRC), Suchandra Goswami has a tale to narrate that can send shivers down anyone’s spine. A housewife to the core, and a sordid saga that began eight years back in 2011, has once again returned back to haunt her and her small family.
On August 10, Suchandra Goswami would once again rush to the nearby NRC Seva Kendra or tell her only son, who is pursuing Engineering at Assam Engineering College in Guwahati to check online for the ‘forms’. Yes, Correction and Claims form that would be distributed through NSKs as well as online for the innumerable mistakes made, post the declaration of final draft NRC made public on July 30 last.
Suchandra Goswami, again finds her name misspelt. A misspelt name, that still gives her sleepless nights thinking about it.
Narrating her story of what’s in a name, Goswami speaking to Northeast Now said, “In 2011, a notice was served stating Srimati ‘Sachindra’ Goswami, wife of Gauranga Goswami of Bhangarpar Part-II to be present before the Foreigners Tribunal. Having seen my name not to be correct and even the address of my husband, who hails from Bhangarpar Part-I, given as Bhangarpar Part – II, we did not pay much heed to this notice, thinking it to be for someone else.”
She added, “All hell broke loose when on May 24, in 2015 at 2 PM, a team of policeman entered our house and took me and put me behind the bars at Silchar Central Jail, the second home for those, sent to detention camps. Only after passing three days and close to 72 hours sleeping with 11 other hardcore female convicts in one single room inside Silchar Central Jail that houses illegal foreigners for the whole of Barak Valley including Dima Hasao district, especially for females, I could breathe fresh air of freedom after getting bail.”
The case went on for three more months but even to this day, she remembers as to how she slept on the floor with unhygienic dinner being served at 4 PM.
If this ordeal was not enough, on July 30, just a week ago, when her name along with her family came up as registered citizens of India, the name listed has made her restless.
“The name has come as ‘Suchandro’ for which I won’t sit idle until and unless it is rectified for I don’t want to go through the grinds once again,” reiterated Goswami, adding, “Not just me, but no one should face such a nightmare.”
Gauranga Goswami, her husband, a retired school teacher, who teaches music post-retirement, Gauranga Goswami talking to Northeast Now said, “I have not been able to trace who has done the verification to classify my wife as a foreigner. It takes only a second to classify someone as a D-Voter, but if the verification is incorrect, it takes a lifetime to come out of it for those who are classified as such.”
Like Suchandra Goswami, lakhs and lakhs of residents in Assam, who are fortunate to find their names in the list, would rush to get their names corrected, post August 10, for who says, there is nothing in a name, as to stay or reside in Assam, “naam hi kafi hai”.