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Assam student leader files NRC objections against own leader

Siddique Ali.  

A member of a local unit of the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) in Udalguri district has submitted about 100 objections against people he felt were ineligible to be in the National Register of Citizens (NRC) being updated in Assam.

One of them turned out to be a former president of the Kalaigaon unit, of which he is a member.

Son of a freedom fighter, Siddique Ali, received the objection notice from the local NRC service centre. The notice has saddened the 64-year-old who had contested the Assam Assembly election in 1985 for the now-defunct United Minorities Front.

“People here were stunned since my father was involved with the precursor of the AASU from his schooldays in 1968. He became the president of the Kalaigaon unit of the AASU in 1975 and also became the president of the Mangaldoi subdivision unit in 1977-78,” Nazib ul Islam, an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Technology-Guwahati and a Central government employee, told The Hindu on Sunday.

Kalaigaon, about 90 km northeast of Guwahati, used to be in Darrang district whose headquarters is Mangaldoi.

Mr. Ali’s reputation as a teacher — he taught from 1991-2016 and was president of the Darrang District Teachers’ Association for 10 years — also made him popular.

Member apologises

Realising his folly, the AASU member went to Mr. Ali’s house in Kalaigaon and apologised. “My district unit leaders made me sign 100-odd NRC objection forms and I had no idea who I was signing against,” he said, declining to be quoted.

There have been several instances of student union members filing NRC objections against strangers. According to the All Assam Bengali Suraksha Samiti, an AASU leader from Palashbari near Guwahati filed objections against more than 100 people in two towns of western Assam.

The All Assam Minority Students’ Union too said that members of the All Bodo Students Union had filed dubious NRC objections against “perceived Bangladeshis” in western Assam’s Kokrajhar and Baksa districts.

Hearings under way

NRC officials said those filing objections failed to turn up at hearings in most cases. The hearings for the claims and objections-round of the NRC began a week ago and have to be completed in time for an “error-free NRC”, as the Supreme Court has sought, to be published by July 31.

Meanwhile, a 58-year-old man languishing in the Tezpur detention centre for foreigners died on Sunday. The jail authorities did not disclose details, but Basudeb Biswas is said to have died in his sleep.

AASU chief adviser Samujjal Bhattacharya on Saturday protested the Supreme Court’s order seeking the release of people declared foreigners by quasi-judicial tribunals after completion of more than three years in detention camps. The release is subject to two sureties of ₹1 lakh each and recording of their biometrics.

He said the order would be against the spirit of the Assam Accord of 1985 that warrants detection and deportation of illegal migrants who came to the State after March 1971.

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Printable version | Sep 23, 2021 12:22:32 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/assam-student-leader-files-nrc-objections-against-own-leader/article27109821.ece

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