Other States

Assam govt. removes Foreigners’ Tribunal member

The Assam government has removed a Foreigners’ Tribunal (FT) member who had donated to the State COVID-19 fund with a rider that his contribution should not be spent on Tablighi Jamaat attendees who tested positive after returning to the State.

A May 22 notification signed by N. Goswami, undersecretary in the Political (B) Department said Kamalesh Kumar Gupta “stands released” as member of the FT in western Assam’s Baksa from May 23 “as his conduct has been found to be unbecoming of a responsible FT member”.

The notification also said Bimal Sarma, the member of an FT in adjoining Nalbari district has been allowed to hold additional charge of the Baksa FT.

B is the section of the Political Department that deals with 100 quasi-judicial FTs, which determine the citizenship status of people the Assam Police’s Border wing marks as non-citizens. Another category of people the FTs deal with are people marked doubtful or D-voters by the Election Commission.

Retired judges and bureaucrats with experience of discharging judicial duties as well as lawyers with at least seven years of experience are eligible to become FT members.

Letter to Minister

Mr. Gupta had on April 7 written to Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma listing a total donation of ₹62,999 for the Assam Arogya Nidhi. He also named 12 other FT members and staff of the Baska FT he headed as the contributors.

The letter, which Mr. Gupta said was withdrawn on April 11, had this accompanying request: “Our only prayer is that the help may not be extended to the members of violators of Tablighi Jamaat, jehadi and jahil”.

The other FT members, who were issued show-cause notices, said they were in the dark about the letter and that Mr. Gupta did not inform them about it.

Minority organisations in the State criticised the letter. Abdul Khaleque, Congress MP from Barpata, wrote to Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on April 16 seeking action against Mr. Gupta for the “highly communal” and “reprehensible” letter.

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Printable version | May 18, 2021 4:06:36 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/foreigners-tribunal-member-removed/article31666251.ece

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