When the entire country is geared up for 72nd Independence Day celebration, 102-year-old Chandradhar Das is still struggling to attain freedom who was branded as the ‘suspected foreigner’ by Foreigners’ Tribunal.
After spending nearly three months in a detention camp earlier this year, the 102-year-old man was yet again asked to appear before the Foreigners’ Tribunal on Tuesday (August 14) to prove his citizenship but his fate remained uncertain today as well due to absence of the Assistant Government Pleader (AGP) in the tribunal.
The centurion arrived at Silchar to appear before the Foreigners’ Tribunal from Dholai, about 30 km from here in Cachar district, with a hope that he would get the judgement in his favour today.
But, upon his arrival and lying on the floor of for around two hours, the Judge of this tribunal Sunil Karmakar informed that since there is no Assistant Government Pleader (AGP) Das case cannot be heard today and will have appear before the tribunal again on September 14.
On January 2, Chandradhar, a resident of Borai Basti under Dholai constituency in the Amraghat area, was declared a foreigner by an ex parte judgment of the tribunal when he could not appear before the court due to his frail health.
Das, who entered India in 1955 as a refugee and went on to vote for India in the state of Tripura in 1966, was put in the detention camp on March 31 this year after he failed to appear before the tribunal court to prove his Indian citizenship.
However, his family claims Chandradhar had the necessary documents — including a 1966 citizenship card.
Kamal Chakraborty, Chief Convenor of Unconditional Citizenship Demand Forum (UCDF), who is fighting for his cause and took the matter to the Office of Deputy Commissioner, Cachar on June 16, which led to his release from the detention camp on June 27, expressed strong resentment over the absence of the Assistant Government Pleader.
“There is no Assistant Government Pleader in this FT for the past three months. We have submitted memorandum to Deputy Commissioner Cachar on June 26 and August 8 in this regard, but nothing has been done. While there are five other AGPs in rest of the five FTs anyone could have been attached with this tribunal number 6 of Cachar,” Chakraborty told Northeast Now.
Das’s daughter Niyati Roy, who is fighting hard to see her father to be free from all such hassles, speaking to Northeast Now, said, “He keeps on uttering the name of PM Narendra Modi all the time, and obsessed about him. He says he wants to vote for Modi one day and I hope he can live up to his dreams.”
Das’s daughter Niyati feels it is inhumane to call an ailing old man repeatedly.
“In FT-6, where the case is underway, there is no government lawyer. The member (judge) keeps taking leaves and as a result, we suffer. My father is not healthy enough to travel 80 kilometers twice a month or more. We are not financially strong enough to book a car for him every time. So, we have to resort to public transport to reach the court in Silchar,” she told Firstpost.
Meanwhile, Das’s matter has been brought to the notice of Deputy Commissioner Cachar, Dr S Lakshmanan today and all eyes would be now upon the Cachar District administration as well as the Foreigners’ Tribunal as to what verdict they give to this centurion.