Retired army officer from Assam told ‘prove you are Indian’ after 30 years of service

After serving the Indian Army for 30 years, a retired Junior Commissioned Officer has been asked to prove that he is an Indian citizen and not an illegal immigrant from Bangladesh, several media outlets reported.

Mohammad Azmal Hoque, who retired from the army in September last year, was served a notice from a foreigners’ tribunal in Assam in August this year, reported.

According to reports, Hoque has been ordered to submit relevant documents to prove his citizenship.

The report added that Hoque, a Guwahati resident, has been placed in the ‘doubtful-voter’ category by Assam’s illegal migrant tribunal, alleging he entered India after 25 March 1971.

DNA reported that the retired officer has been told to appear before the tribunal on 13 October.

According to media reports, even Hoque’s wife Mumtaj Begum, was summoned by the foreigners’ tribunal in 2012 on similar grounds.

Hoque defended himself stating that his citizenship credentials were verified, when he had applied for a franchisee of a customer point of a bank in May.

Hoque reiterated that his family is indigenous Assamese, pointing to the fact that his father’s name had been mentioned in the 1966 voter list. He added that his mother’s name was also mentioned in the 1951 National Register of Citizens, reported.

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.

Illegal immigration from Bangladesh is an emotive issue in Assam. As per the 1985 Assam Accord, 25 March, 1971 is the cut off date for detection and deportation of illegal Bangladeshis. Assam has over 100 foreigners’ tribunal, with a¬† report stating that nearly 80,000 people have been detected as foreigners since 1986, out of which, 29,729 were deported.

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