Retired Army man asked to prove Indian citizenship in Assam

Posted October 03, 2017

"I have served the Indian Army for 30 years".

The notice, issued on July 6, asked Hoque to appear before the court on September 11 to prove his citizenship, failing which the case against him would continue ex-parte.

The foreigners' tribunal will hear the case filed by Assam police against Mohd Azmal Haque on Oct 13.

Later, Azmal received another notice from the foreigner's tribunal and asking him to appear before the court on October 13 next. "I request the Prime Minister, the President, and the Home Minister to end this harassment of a proper citizen", Haque told CNN-News18.

Previously, his wife was also accused of being an illegal immigrant in 2012, but was later identified to be a bonafide Indian citizen. There have been allegations that genuine Indian citizens are often harassed by police and other law enforcing agencies in the name of detecting illegal foreigners.

Haque who joined the Indian Army in 1986 said that all his documents were verified by police before he was inducted into the army. "But it pains me when my daughter questions me if this is how the country treats those who serve it for so many years", he said. "Its a 2008 case and on Tuesday (October 3) when the court reopens, we will send for the documents". A six-year-anti-foreigner agitation from 1979 to 1985 led to signing of the Assam Accord which set March 25, 1971 as the cut of date for detection and deportation of illegal Bangladeshis.

Aman Wadud, Haque's lawyer, said that his client was never approached by any investigation agency. She was earlier accused as illegal immigrant.

After a tweet highlighting Hoque's plight went viral, the Eastern Command of the Indian Army said that "necessary assistance" will be provided to the retired officer.

Infiltration of illegal immigrants from Bangladesh is an emotive issue in Assam. However, Mr. Haque said that he is a citizen of India and his mother Rahimon Nesa was in the National Register of Citizens (NRC) of 1951. Local police questioning his nationality post retirement had caused unprecedented outrage on social media platforms with many linking the move to the officer being a Muslim in a BJP-ruled state.