Declared foreigner in 2015, man involved in NRC preparation detained
An Assam government employee, who was involved in the process of compiling the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and declared a foreigner in 2015, has been detained. Superintendent of police Swapnaneel Deka said Khairul Islam was being sent to a detention camp in Tezpur. Islam was arrested from Morigaon on Wednesday.
The final NRC draft was released on July 30 and left out over four million applicants as part of a Supreme Court-monitored process to identify and deport foreigners who entered Assam after March 1971.
Those declared foreigners earlier were to be left out of the NRC, which was updated to identify illegal immigrants who had escaped detection so far.
Police said Islam was identified as a suspected foreigner along with his family in 2003. He had joined government service as a school teacher seven years earlier. A foreigners’ tribunal in Morigaon declared the family of five foreigners in 2015. After being declared a foreigner, Islam moved the Gauhati high court which stayed the tribunal’s verdict. However, the court upheld the tribunal’s verdict while Islam was involved in the NRC process last month.
Morigaon deputy commissioner Hemen Das said Islam’s name had been removed from NRC duty as soon as the court upheld the tribunal’s verdict.
Das said the inspector of schools office had been asked to submit a report on the matter.
Four members of Islam’s family, including his 60-year-old mother, two brothers and a sister, were absconding. Police said they, too, will be sent to the detention camp once they are traced.
People declared doubtful (D) voters or marked as suspected foreigners are required to approach 100 tribunals in Assam to prove their citizenship. Those declared foreigners by the tribunals could be put under detention. Over 90,000 people have so far been declared foreigners in Assam. Around 1,000 people are currently lodged at six detention centres in the state. Only two declared foreigners have been deported to Bangladesh since 2013. The descendants of those declared D voters, or those whose cases are pending with tribunals, will only be included in the NRC if tribunals declare them Indian citizens.
Islam was among around 40,000 state government employees, who were part of the NRC process. He worked as a field level officer at the Jaluguti NRC Nagrik Seva Kendra and assisted verifications.
Morigaon has over 8,000 declared foreigners. Many of them are untraceable. Das had said earlier that 39 families either declared foreigners or whose cases were pending before the tribunals had made it to the NRC draft. According to a SC order, people in these categories cannot be part of the NRC.