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India: Kargil veteran declared ‘foreigner’, sent to detention camp in Assam

Friday 31 May 2019, by siawi3

Source: https://www.sabrangindia.in/article/kargil-veteran-declared-foreigner-sent-detention-camp-assam

Kargil veteran declared ‘foreigner’, sent to detention camp in Assam

Written by Zamser Ali

May 30, 2019

Guwahati, May 30: In a shocking incident a Foreigners’ Tribunal (FT) in Assam has declared a Kargil war veteran a ‘foreigner’ and sent him to a detention camp!

Photo: sanaullah

Mohammad Sanaullah, who served in the Army and fought in the Kargil war, and who received a medal and letter of appreciation from none other than the then President of India for his service to the nation, was declared ‘foreigner’ on March 27, 2019 by the Boko FT, based on a minor confusion about his age.

Who is Mohammed Sanaullah

Mohammad Sanaullah was born in 1967 in the village of Kalahikash that falls under the jurisdiction of the Boko Police STation in Kamrup district. He passed his matriculation examination in 1985. He father Mohammad Ali has land patta (document) of 1936 in the village Kalahikash along with his name recorded in the NRC, 1951, Voters List of 1966 and 1971. All these documents were submitted before the FT but overlooked.

As far as his service to the nation goes Mohammad Sanaullah served as a jawan in the Army from 1987 and was promoted to junior commissioned officer in 2012. In the year 2017, serving 30 years in Indian Air Force, Mohammad Sanaullah retired from service as an honorary Lieutenant. In the subsequent year he joined the Assam Border Police as an Assistant Sub Inspector. Interestingly, it is the Border Police that looks into cases of suspected foreigners and doubtful voters and makes a reference to the FT.

From war veteran to Declared Foreigner

In 2018, he came to know that he was recorded as a D Voter in the voters list when he was in service Indian Air Force. He discovered that a sub-inspector of the Border Police allegedly submitted a false report, where it was recorded that Mohammad Sanaullah declared that he has no valid documents to prove his citizenship as he entered into India from Bangladesh after 1971. This documents show that he was a daily wage labourer! The false declaration was also submitted allegedly with a false thumb impression which Mohammad Sanaullah claims wasn’t his. His case was referred to the Boko FT.

After one year long battle for justice, Mohammad Sanaullah was declared foreigner by the Boko FT citing a discrepancy in how his age was recorded in an official document.

Retired junior commissioned officer (JCO), Md. Ajmal Hoque, told The New Indian Express that the family of Sanaullah and some retired Army personnel, including him, had filed an “appeal†in the Gauhati HC challenging the judgement of the Foreigners’ Tribunal.

The minor discrepancy

This discrepancy is because the last two digits of the year of joining the IAF ie. 1987 were switched accidentally and read 1978 when recorded during FT proceedings, thus making it appear as if Mohammed Sanaullah joined the defence forces at the age of 11!

“During one of the hearings, he had mistakenly mentioned the year of his joining the Army as 1978 and based on the gaffe, the Foreigners’ Tribunal declared him a foreigner. It argued that nobody can join the Army at the age of 11 years,†Hoque told The New Indian Express.

This also made it appear as if his siblings’ ages are different i.e one younger sister appears older and an elder brother appears younger than Mohammad Sanaullah. This is clearly a small and genuine error. But the FT refused to consider it and ruled that the siblings were ‘projected’ as brother and sister. They then declared him as Bangladeshi and the police called on him to police station on May 29. When he rushed to the police station he was arrested and promptly sent to the Goalpara detention camp.

After arrest of Mohammad Sanaullah, his elder brother said that, “I have worked as a servant to educate my own brother as our father died when we were very young. My brother served 30 years serving and protecting the Indian people, but today the member of the foreigners’ tribunal are of the opinion that he is not my brother! He has projected me as his brother! This pain is unbearable to me.”

Talking to media persons, as he was being taken into police custody, Muhammad Sanaullah said, “I am a Indian and I will remain as Indian.”