Retired Assamese Army veteran asked to prove his Indian citizenship
A retired Indian Army officer hailing from Assam has been asked to prove his Indian citizenship by the Assamese Police. Junior Commissioned Officer Mohammad Azmal Hoque had retired a year ago on 30th September, after a 30 year-long service in the Indian Army. He was enjoying his post-retirement life in Guwahati when he was asked to appear before the Foreign Tribunal.
"I was at the LoC in Punjab's Khemkaran Sector and Kalaigaon, at Tawang on the Indo-China border, at Lucknow, at Kota. I also had a stint at the College of Defence Management at Secunderabad," said Hoque, who served in the Army's computer and networking team.
The date on which Hoque was initially asked to testify was 11th September. However, the Army veteran missed the date as the notice served to him by the Foreigner's Tribunal arrived after the date. He now has to testify on 13th October and, with the relevant documents, prove his citizenship to the Tribunal.
The summon served to Hoque stated that he had come to India post-1971 without documents, despite his father's name being in the 1966 voters list, and his mother being in the 1951 National Register of Citizens. Hoque's wife had also been asked to prove her citizenship in 2012. Ironically, the affidavit which proved her Indian citizenship also had Hoque's name listed as her husband.
"I am a khilonjia axomiya (someone whose origins are in Assam); I belong to this soil. Why is the government trying to harass us on communal grounds," said a distressed Hoque in a telephonic conversation with the Daily News & Analysis (DNA) network.
As per a Supreme Court directive, the Assamese government has been asked to update its National Register of Citizens by 31st December, 2017. Hoque's case is just one of the many in which Foreigner's Tribunals in Assam have asked government servants to prove their citizenship. In July, there was a similar case involving Assam constable Abu Taher Ahmed. He was later declared a citizen.