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Ex-army officer told to prove citizenship

A soldier who served in the army for 30 years has said he has been asked by a tribunal to prove his Indian citizenship.

By Pankaj Sarma in Guwahati
  • Published 2.10.17
  •  

Guwahati, Oct. 1: A soldier who served in the army for 30 years has said he has been asked by a tribunal to prove his Indian citizenship.

The foreigners tribunal at Boko in Assam's Kamrup district issued a notice to Md. Azmal Hoque, a junior commissioned officer who retired last year, after a police report felt that he might have illegally entered India from Bangladesh after 1971.

"It hurts to receive such a notice after serving and defending one's motherland for three decades," the ex-serviceman told The Telegraph.

"Considering the current situation in the state, I am forced to think that it had happened to me only because I belong to a particular community. Around 40 others from my native village have been given such notices and I personally know that they are all Indian citizens," he added.

Hoque said he joined the Indian Army as a sepoy on September 13, 1986, and retired on September 13, 2016.

Assam has 100 foreigners tribunals entrusted with the job of detecting illegal migrants. Under the 1985 Assam Accord, 1971 has been designated as the cut-off year. The tribunals act on police references.

Hoque said his wife Mumtaj Khanam was also served a notice in 2012 but the tribunal declared her an Indian citizen after she furnished proof.

Their son studies at the Rashtriya Indian Military College in Dehradun and their daughter at the Army Public School in Guwahati.

Assam DGP Mukesh Sahay said the case against Hoque was registered in 2008 and he had asked the Kamrup SP to find out the details.

"Receiving a notice doesn't mean that one has been branded an illegal migrant," Sahay said.