Former Army officer Mohammed Sanaullah at his residence in Panjabi in Guwahati, on Tuesday Credit: EastMojo image

Guwahati: Terming his 11-day-long imprisonment at the detention camp in Goalapara as one of the most unfortunate moments of his life, Mohammed Sanaullah, the Indian Army veteran who is currently out on bail after being declared a foreigner by a Foreigners’ Tribunal in Assam on May 23, feels that he had had to go through the ordeal only because of his religion.

In an exclusive interview with EastMojo, the former honorary captain said: “These camps mean tension, lots of tension. I sometimes feel why I was born to a Muslim family. Had I born to a non-Muslim family, then I won’t have faced this situation in life.”

“Thinking about all these moments sometimes brings tears into my eyes. The situation became so depressing that sometimes even tears were not sufficient to express the feelings,” the 52-year-old ex-Army man said.

The stay in detention camps meant a lot of tension, feels former Indian Army veteran Mohammed Sanaullah

Sanaullah, who served the Indian Army for more than three decades, was sent to a detention camp in Goalpara after he was declared a ‘foreigner’ by a Foreigners’ Tribunal in Assam on May 23. He entered the detention camp inn Goalpara on May 28.

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Recalling his life in detention camp, the former Indian Army veteran said that it was totally a different experience. “Never ever in my life did I face such a situation. During my posting in Doda district of Jammu and Kashmir, I had had to face some severe challenges in life. During my service period in 1996-97, I met people who didn’t even have any idea about a common thing as bicycle. Till that moment, they had not seen a bicycle. However, despite all these, my stay at the detention camp was totally different,” Sanaullah added.

Informing that he had to take long breath and walk to avoid medical complications because of the stress inside the camp, he said that even during festive occasions such as Eid, camp inmates used to cry the whole day remembering their near and dear ones.

On this Eid, particularly, Sanaullah discovered that instead of celebrations, there was a grave silence among the camp inmates right from early morning till late into the night.

“Everyone was crying and praying for the almighty for the welfare of their siblings. Some are languishing in the camp for more than 10 years albeit a single visitor. Some inmates have no idea about their children and other relatives. They even don’t know how these children are surviving, or whether they are alive or not,” he added.

With teary eyes, the former Indian Army officer posed a question: “How would the condition of a mother be who has left his small children at home to be at detention camps? There are lots of such women and men in detention camps across the state.”

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“Because of the mental trauma and never-ending detention days, it seems that some of the camp inmates have already lost their belief in themselves,” Sanaulah added.

Army veteran Mohammed Sanaullah with his wife at their residence in Guwahati on Tuesday

Earlier on June 7, the division bench of Gauhati High Court (HC) granted interim bail to Sanaullah with a surety amount of Rs 20,000.

High-profile Supreme Court advocate Indira Jaising appeared for Sanaullah where she extensively elaborated on the various aspects of the case.

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