For a person who has witnessed the British rule in an undivided India, his wait for absolute freedom, is not over yet. Yes you all heard it right, Chadradhar Das, aged 102 years, who came to India in 1955 feeling persecuted of being in East Pakistan, which later went on to become Bangladesh in 1971, has to hang around till October 30 next, to get an argument started and possible judgment after being declared as an illegal immigrant by a Foreigners Tribunal (FT) of Cachar district in Assam in March this year.
After government pleader Pallav Bhattacharjee turned up Friday from Foreigners Tribunal-2, though on a temporary basis at Foreigners Tribunal-6, wherein the case against Chandradhar Das is pending, centurion Das, though ill, came out here at afternoon with a hope that he would get a verdict in his favour.
But, not to be, as after questioning Chandradhar Das by the government pleader who tried to put his point that Das had entered India illegally and staying too without any proper records, a fresh date for argument and likely verdict has been fixed on October 30.
Das’ counsel, Saumen Choudhury, speaking to Northeast Now said, “Till October 30, we have to keep our fingers crossed for I believe Chandradhar Das has a valid citizenship card of 1966 and he has other bonafide documents to prove that he is a genuine citizen of India today.”
Kamal Chakraborty, Chief Convenor of Unconditional Citizenship Demand Committee (UCDF) who has been fighting for his cause is hopeful for his release.
Chandradhar Das was sent to Silchar’s Central Jail, albeit, the ‘detention camps’ for illegal foreigners in Assam, on March 31 and later released on June 27 this year, after a nation wide hue and cry for such an ‘act’ by the state government.
He said, “There was a delay as lack of government pleader in FT-6 and that too on August 14 last, when just a day later we were going to celebrate our freedom, Chandradhar Das’s case could not be moved for government pleader’s absence in this tribunal. He had to sleep on the floor for more than two hours waiting for a government pleader. Anyway, I am grateful to Deputy Commissioner Cachar Dr S Lakhsmanan who has arranged this on a temporary basis to hear Das’ case and give its verdict as soon as possible.”
He added, “So many tribunals do not have a government pleader for which the cases against an alleged illegal foreigner linger on for months and years. We are fighting for that cause only.”
Meanwhile, all eyes and ears would be on October 30 next, upon this Foreigners Tribunal-6 for witnessing the outcome of this person who is still standing firm at the age of 102.