104-yr old Assam man declared foreigner dies before proving citizenship

Das had come to India in 1955 but was declared a foreigner since the refugee certificate issued to him in Tripura wasn’t verified by authorities there.

A 104-year-old Assam man, declared a foreigner by a tribunal nearly three years ago, died on Sunday night before being able to prove that he is an Indian citizen.

Chandradhar Das passed away at his home at Baraibasti in Amraghat of Cachar district on Sunday night reportedly due to age-related problems. He was cremated by his family members the same day.

Das had been declared a foreigner by a foreigners’ tribunal in January 2018 through an ex parte judgement after he failed to appear before it to prove his citizenship. He was later sent to central jail in Silchar in March, but was released in June after a public outcry against his detention.

Das had come to India from erstwhile East Pakistan (later Bangladesh after 1971) in 1955. As per rules, anyone staying in Assam prior to 1971 is deemed an Indian citizen.

The case against him didn’t get resolved as the refugee certificate issued to him in Tripura wasn’t verified by authorities there.

Das’s status as a foreigner also resulted in his three children and grandchildren getting left out of the National Register of Citizens for Assam, which was updated for the first time since 1951 and published in August last year.

The register, which sought to identify Indian citizens and weed out illegal foreigners, had excluded 1.9 million of the 33 million people who applied to get included in the list.

Local reports quoting Das’s daughter Niyati said that the centurion’s last wish was to die as an Indian citizen.

His hopes got raised after the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which proposed granting citizenship to Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, Christians, Parsis and Buddhists from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan was passed by parliament in December last year.

Source: Hindustan Times


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