The family of an 84-year-old man found dead near his home in Sontoli village of Assam’s Kamrup district on Sunday morning has alleged that he committed suicide fearing exclusion from the National Register of Citizens, The Shillong Times reported. Ashraf Ali was missing since Saturday evening.
However, the police said they suspect Ashraf Ali died of natural causes. They have started an investigation into the matter, and registered a case of unnatural death.
According to Ali’s relatives, he consumed poison. However, Kamrup Additional Superintendent of Police Sanjib Saikia said there was no trace of poison near the body. “It does not seem to be suicide,” The Indian Express quoted him as saying. “A post-mortem was conducted and the report is awaited.”
On Thursday, Ali attended a hearing in connection to an objection against the inclusion of his name in the final draft of the register. He was depressed after he came back home and stopped eating meals, his family members told Sentinel Assam.
The National Register of Citizens will be published on July 31. The stated aim of the register is to separate genuine Indian citizens from undocumented immigrants living in Assam. According to the terms, anyone who cannot prove that they or their ancestors entered the state before midnight on March 24, 1971, will be declared a foreigner.
More than 40 lakh people were excluded from the final draft of the NRC published on July 30, 2018. Those who did not make it to the draft list were allowed to make one last claim for inclusion before the publication of the final consolidated list. Alongside this, authorities allowed objections to be filed against people included in the final draft. The exercise has been embroiled in several controversies, including allegations of bias against certain communities.