‘Mistaken identity’: Tagged a foreigner, Assam woman freed after three years
A 59-year-old woman who was declared a foreigner and kept in a detention camp in Assam for over three years was released on Wednesday after Assam Police admitted that it was a case of mistaken identity, an official said.
According to Sudhakar Singh, the Superintendent of Police, Chirang district, Madhubala Mandal was picked up in 2016 by Assam Police and sent to detention camp in neighbouring Kokrajhar.
“There were two to three persons of the same name in the village. One of them had even died,” Singh said, adding that one of them was marked a suspected foreigner and the case was referred to the foreigners tribunal in Chirang.
After an ex parte order declaring Madhubala Namasudra as a foreigner, the police came looking for her and instead picked up Madhubala Das, according to Deepak Dey of the All Assam Bengali Youth Student Federation.
Dey said the police only swung into action in the case after Mohammad Sanaullah’s case got highlighted.
An Army veteran, Sanaullah was sent to a detention camp in May after being declared a foreigner. He is now out on bail.
Singh claimed it was three months back that he received a complaint on the wrongful detention of the 59-year-old Madhubala.
“I constituted an inquiry and found that indeed it was a case of mistaken identity and the wrong Madhubala Das was in detention. I informed the headquarters and subsequently moved the foreigner’s tribunal in Chirang for corrective action,” he said.
Asked if the official who is responsible for wrongful detention be reprimanded or subjected to disciplinary action, Singh said the first priority was to give justice to Madhubala.
There are 100 foreigners’ tribunals in Assam, a quasi-judicial body, which determines citizenship. At present nearly 1000 people declared foreigners are staying in 6 detention centres across the state.