An 82-year old woman in Assam’s Cachar district was declared an Indian citizen by a Foreigners Tribunal on Wednesday, The Indian Express reported. Notably, Akol Rani Namasudra’s son Arjun had killed himself in 2012 allegedly after being served a notice to prove his citizenship.
In February, the Foreigners Tribunal in Cachar district’s Silchar had summoned Namasudra based on a case registered in 2000 alleging that she had entered India illegally after March 25, 1971. On Wednesday, the tribunal ruled that Namasudra had produced “cogent, reliable and admissible evidence” to prove that she was an Indian citizen, according to The Indian Express.
In Assam, persons who have entered India before March 25, 1971, have to prove their citizenship.
Namasudra’s daughter Anjali said that the family was shocked when her mother received the summons from the tribunal. Both Anjali and her brother Arjun received notices asking them to prove their citizenship in 2012. Arjun killed himself as he was disturbed by the summons, the family said. Meanwhile, Anjali was declared an Indian citizen in 2015.
At an election rally in Assam ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Narendra Modi who was then running for the prime minister’s post had referred to Arjun’s death and promised that if voted to power, the Bharatiya Janata Party would resolve such cases related to citizenship.
“In the name of detention camps, the Assam government [then run by the Congress] violated human rights,” Modi had said, according to The Indian Express. “Arjun’s death was not in vain...He sacrificed his life…We will not let it go in vain.”
Anjali said that the family could not believe that her mother’s citizenship would be doubted after what Modi had said.
Advocate Anil Dey, who appeared in the tribunal for Namasudra, told reporters that she was born and brought up in the Haritikar village of Silchar. She married Gopi Ram Namasudra, who was a permanent resident of the village and cast her vote for the first time in the 1965 Assembly elections.
“Apart from her name appearing in voters lists in 1965, 1970, 1977, she also had pre-1971 land deeds in her name,” Dey said, according to The Indian Express.