Army Officials Reach Out To Veteran Who Was Declared Foreigner By Tribunal
- A day after the author of an inquiry report which labelled an ex-Indian Army subedar a ‘foreigner’ told a local channel in the northeast that it was a case of mistaken identity, Indian Army officials reached out to the detained man, Mohammed Sanaullah’s family, offering support.
- Based upon an inquiry report conducted by the border organisation of Assam Police in 2008, which identified Sanaullah as a labourer and marked as a suspected illegal immigrant, his case was referred to the foreigners tribunal, a quasi-judicial body which adjudicates on cases of illegal immigrants identified either by Assam Police or the Election Commission of India (ECI).
- After the tribunal in Kamrup Rural district declared him a ‘foreigner’ on May 23, Sanaullah, 52, who has been serving as sub-inspector with the border organisation since retirement from the Indian Army, was detained last week by his own colleagues at the border organisation and sent to a detention centre.
- “I want to see my husband before we celebrate Eid. This is what I told the army officers, the ex-army men and the public who have been reaching out to me,” said Sanima Begum, Sanaullah’s wife.
- The hopes of the family, however, rest on the writ petition filed in the high court on Saturday against the tribunal’s order declaring him a foreigner, which Sanaullah’s lawyers say, may come up for hearing this week.
- Joshi Narain Dutt, director of Assam Directorate of Sainik Welfare, who has been following up on the developments, said the family will have to seek legal recourse (which it has done, by moving the HC) but that the DSW is “offering broad guidance.”
- According to Sanima Begum, Joshi and a group of ex-servicemen met the family on Saturday and promised support. “If after 30 years of service by my husband, the army will not come forward to help, who else would ?” said Sanima Begum.
- Another army official Hindustan Times spoke to, said they will not be able to help the family directly unless they received orders from their superiors.
- However, he dismissed the possibility of an illegal immigrant getting appointed in the Army. “In 1987, when Sanaullah was appointed, police verification report must have verified his antecedents,” the official said.
- A senior official at the headquarters of the border organisation said a report has been sought from the district officials on the case. “It is possible that the local field official filed an erroneous inquiry report,” this official said.