Devoter cases in Cachar district: Cachar district’s women declared devoter

Cachar district’s old women declared devoter in recent ruling. Bhandari Das fled from Bangladesh to India, an ally, in the year 1967 along with her husband and two children to escape religious persecution in her hometown in Sylhet. She has lived as a foreigner in a village in the Cachar district of Assam.

After 54 years, the 80-year-old woman is now a widow and her children are married. But her family members are still considered Foreigners.

A woman living in Assam’s Cachar district declared Foreigners, however, the Foreigners’ Tribunal in Silchar also declared her children as streamline foreigners who will now have to register with the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) and wait for 10 years to become an Indian Citizen.

“With my current health condition, I don’t think I will ever be an Indian citizen anymore. But I am relieved that at least my children will be a citizen of this country someday,” Ms. Das told the NDTV.

BK Talukdar, a member of the Foreigners Tribunal in Silchar observed in an opinion, I have gone through the written statement, evidence, and documents submitted by Bhandari Das’ Lawyer carefully. My considered opinion is that the opposite party (op) is a foreigner of the Stream 01-01-1966 to 25-03-1971. The Op (Bhandari das) is directed to register her name along with her husband and children before the Foreigners Regional Registration Office, Cachar, Silchar.

As per clause 5 of the Assam Accord, a ‘Streamline foreigner or foreigners of Stream are those who have entered India between January 1, 1966, and March 24 1971 the last date for detection and deletion from citizenship- and have registered with the FRRO, which is in every district’s administrative office. There is a 10-year waiting period to get Indian citizenship and during which they will be stripped of their right to vote.

Bhandari Das’ lawyer Tanmoy Purkayastha said that her case came to the notice of the foreigner’s tribunal in 2008- 41 years after she came to India-when a Border Police registered a case against her.

Usually, the Border Police send a notice to the person whom they suspect as foreigners and when they don’t have an answer to that, the case goes to the Tribunal. In this case, however, they directly registered a case without informing her which got forwarded to the tribunal,”  the lawyer added.

Bhandari Das and her son, who appears in the updated National Register of Citizens of 2019, had submitted the same documents to the Tribunal that they submitted for NRC- the refugee card from 1967 and the voter identity card issued in 1970 to prove their legacy before march 24, 1971.

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