A TOI report stated that the tribunal vacated its earlier ex-parte order that had declared Das as a foreigner. Nevertheless, Das has to appear before the tribunal and can contest his case by filing a written statement and will have to buttress his case by submitting relevant documents in support of his claim as Indian citizen. This information was given by Das’s advocate, Soumen Choudhury. July 4 has been fixed for submission of written statement.
The frail looking Das is afflicted with multiple old age ailments including difficulty in hearing and memory loss. The Barak Valley-based Unconditional Citizenship Demand Forum (UCDF) was moved by the “miserable condition” in which Das had to spend the “fag end of his life” in a jail converted into a detention camp along with other detainees and had, earlier on Wednesday, met the Cachar Deputy Commissioner, Lakshmanan S, and raised Das’s case.
The report quoted UCDF convener, Kamal Chakraborty, as saying, “On the same day after we met the Deputy Commissioner, Das was shifted to Silchar Medical College for treatment. That Das had to spend his days in detention camp even at his advanced age is a pinnacle of suffering that is being meted out in the name of foreigners. There are many people, a majority of whom are poor, languishing in detention camps as they were declared ex-parte foreigner because they could not engage lawyers.”
Das, a resident of Borai Basti in Barak Valley’s Cachar district, and who possessed a citizenship card of 1966, was declared foreigner by an ex-parte judgement of the tribunal on January 2 last.
The report also quoted Das’ daughter, Minoti, as saying, “My father was put in detention camp after he failed to appear with his documents before the tribunal when he was served with the notice to prove his citizenship. He was already sick and do not remember properly where he kept his relevant documents. Is it possible for a
102-year-old person who is suffering from different ailments to remember everything?”
Das was sent to a detention camp in March this year.
Recently, social activist Harsh Mander had resigned as the Special Monitor at the National Human Rights Commission saying “there is no constructive role” for him to play.
He said that he had authored a report on the critical question of people declared as foreigners in Assam, but the Commission “paid no heed to it”.