Retired Army officer from Assam branded as illegal 'Bangladeshi immigrant'

Tuesday, 03 Oct, 2017

Mohd Azmal Haque, who had retired previous year as Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) has posted a video on social media stating that he had received a notice from government placing him in the doubtful-voter category.

Haque questioned: "If I were an illegal Bangladeshi, how could I serve the Indian Army?".

According to the reports, the Foreigners Tribunal has served notice to Azmal Haque and has asked him to appear before it on October 13, with full proof evidence.

"In 2012 also, I had received a notice saying I was a doubtful voter but I submitted all documents in the tribunal court and it had declared me as an Indian citizen", he said. "The investigating authorities, like the Election Commission of India and the Assam Border police, randomly pick and frame Indian citizens as illegal immigrants and send their cases to the Foreigners Tribunal". These were set up in Assam under the Foreigner (tribunal) Order of 1964 to check if the status of the citizens whose nationality is found to be doubtful. Azmal Haque joined the Indian Army in 1986 as a mechanical engineer and he was appointed as a JCO by former President APJ Abdul Kalam on January 19, 2003 in the rank of Naib-Subedar.

Following widespread outrage, Eastern Command officials said they have contacted him. We have proved all the documents to the court to prove our India citizenship. "How could I have served in the Indian Army for so long if I was an illegal immigrant?" asked Haque, expressing his disappointment with the system.

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"He (Haque) is being accused as "illegal immigrant" without any investigation whatsoever".

The issue was brought to the attention of the Army yesterday through a Twitter post by lawyer Aman Wadud where he said, "Mohd". At present around 200,000 cases are pending in the foreigners tribunals.

Infiltration of illegal migrants from Bangladesh has been a major issue in Assam.

Haque has claimed that he was in Assam's Kamrup district in 1968 and that his mother's name features in the 1951 National Register of Citizens. It attempts to create a data base of people who had lived in Assam before the cut-off date in 2010 was mired by chaos, police firing and it had to be stopped.