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Retd soldier asked to prove Indian citizenship in Assam

SNS | New Delhi |

A retired army officer has been asked by the Assam police to prove that he is an Indian citizen and not a Bangladeshi immigrant.

Residing in Guwahati, Mohd Azmal Hoque, who retired as a junior commissioned officer (JCO) last year after serving the army for 30 years, received a notice from a foreigners’ tribunal last month.

Talking to the media, Hoque maintained that his family was indigenous Assamese and his father’s name was mentioned in the voters list of 1966. His mother’s name is listed in the 1951 National Register of Citizens (NRC).

In Assam there are 100 foreigners’ tribunals set up to detect illegal immigrants, especially those who entered India after creation of Bangladesh.

As per the notice issued on 6 July, the police have registered a case against Hoque, alleging he entered Assam illegally after 25 March 1971, the day Pakistan army launched Operation Searchlight against the people of then East Pakistan.

The notice asked Hoque to appear before the court on 11 September to prove his citizenship, failing which the case against him would continue ex-parte. As per reports, the 49-year-old failed to keep the date as the notice reportedly reached his ancestral village Kalahikash near Boko, nearly 70 km from the state capital, after 11 September. He will now have to appear before the tribunal on 13 October.

Hoque joined the army in 1986 in a non-combat role as technician and retired from the corps of electronics and mechanical engineers (EME) as Subedar after serving at several places including border areas in Punjab and Arunachal Pradesh.

Incidentally, Hoque’s wife Mamtaj Begum had also been summoned by a foreigners’ tribunal in 2012 to prove her citizenship. Since she had all necessary documents, she was able to satisfy the tribunal.

As per reports, Hoque’s son is at present studying in the prestigious Rashtriya Indian Military College in Dehradun while his daughter is at the Army Public School in Narengi, Guwahati.