Declared A 'Foreigner', 104-Year-Old Assam Man Dies Before Being Able To Prove His Citizenship

by GoNews Desk 3 years ago Views 4994

Declared 'Foreigner', 104-Year-Old Assam Man Befor
A 104-year-old man in Assam, Chandradhar Das, who was declared a foreigner by a tribunal after the implementation of Citizenship (Amendment) Act in 2018, died of a heart attack before being able to prove his Indian citizenship. 

Chandradhar Das, a resident of Amraghat region, had spent three months in a detention camp for “foreigners” in Assam two years ago. Later he got a bail. Das, battling dementia and heart disease, died in his son’s run-down cottage in Boraibasti in Assam’s Cachar district as a “foreigner”.

The tribunal's decision of declaring Chandradhar Das a 'foreigner' was a unilateral decision, as he could not appear before the tribunal.

His lawyer Sumen Chowdhury said, "Had the government not been reluctant, he might have got his citizenship." CAA was passed last year. It usually takes about three months to prepare the modalities, but this is not the case with CAA. This one incident proved how faulty our social system is. The man was so vivacious, but could not prove his citizenship before his death." 

Das' daughter Nyuti Das recalled how her father was listening to PM Modi's speech on her brother's phone, then he smiled at her and said, "Modi aamar bhogowan (Modi is my God)...He will solve everything. The citizenship law is here. We will all become Indians."

Nyuti said that her father always hoped that one day he would get Indian citizenship. Wherever he saw the posters of Modi, folded hands and bowed his head.

He further added, 'He had high hopes from Prime Minister Modi. It has been a year since the law was made, but what did his 'God' do? ' He said that he only wanted to die as an Indian. We tried a lot. Strayed in court. From lawyers to social workers, all papers were submitted. And then he (Chandradhar) left. We are still foreign to the law. The citizenship law did nothing for us. '

How was Chandradhar Das declared a 'foreigner'? 

According to Nyuti, his father left Bangladesh after 1950 due to threats from the majority community and entered India through Tripura and started working as a daily wage laborer in Teliamura. He married and had children there. But then local groups started creating problems, so they moved to the Bengali-dominated Barak Valley.

On the other hand, politics has intensified over the death of Chandradhar. Congress MP Sushmita Dev, who met Das' family, termed the citizenship law merely a tool to polarise votes. “It’s a means to an end. And the end is polarising the Hindu Bengali vote. Even if the CAA was in effect, it doesn’t assure citizenship to anybody. Why has the BJP not helped any of the Hindu Bengalis who are still in detention?” she asked.

While BJP MP Rajdeep Roy consoled the death of Das, saying “I offer my condolences to the bereaved family, what has happened is very unfortunate, but this pandemic is not in my hands… I too hoped that the rules and regulation with regard to the CAA would have been framed by now.”

Chandradhar Das's only wish was that he should leave this world as an Indian, but his wish could not be fulfilled.

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