Guwahati: A retired teacher and an advocate from Kharupetia in Assam’s Darrang district committed suicide on Sunday after he lost all hopes to prove his Indian citizenship as he was declared a ‘foreigner’ by a Foreigner’s Tribunal.
Known for some of the biggest Durga puja celebrations in the district, the tragedy has shaken its residents just a day after Vijaya Dashami.
As per reports, Nirod Baran Das, the 71-year-old retired teacher, was shocked when he found that his name did not feature in the final draft of the NRC published on July 30. When he went to the NRC Sewa Kendra (NSK) office to find out the reason for the exclusion, the NRC officials said he was “declared an illegal foreigner”.
In order to find out the truth, Das reportedly contacted the district deputy commissioner and started running from pillar to post. However, “no police station could provide him any information or a case number against him”, said
Akhil Saha, a local resident who is fighting for justice to Das.
Das was summarily declared a foreigner, which is not a new case as Foreigner’s Tribunals have often been accused of announcing ex parte judgments against alleged illegal immigrants.
As per Saha, Das had moved to Kharupetia from Tezpur in 1955. “He took admission (then) at Sailabala High School. From there, he completed his Class X board exams in 1968. Still, he was declared an illegal foreigner,” said Saha.
Das’ name also feature in the voter list of 1971, the year marked as the base year set in accordance with the Assam Accord for inclusion of one’s name in the NRC. According to the Assam Accord, people who migrated to Assam till the midnight of March 24, 1971, can apply for legitimate citizenship in the state.
But Das’ alleged suicide, despite having legitimate documents, punches holes in the entire NRC update process.
Incidentally, Das’ suicide is reportedly the 30th death in Assam related to the NRC update process.
Family members and locals are expected to lodge an FIR and register the death as a ‘death related to NRC’.