Ex Armyman from Assam Branded as 'Bangaldeshi'

Mohd Azmal Hoque

Mohammad Haque retired as a Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) last year after serving the Army for 30 years, but that wasn't proof enough that he was Indian.

It also charged him with having entered India in 1971 without proper documents, he said.

A retired junior commissioned officer (JCO) of the Indian Army, who was posted in Secunderabad, Gurdaspur, Chandigarh, Kota, Tawang and Meerut during his 30-year-long service, has been asked to prove his Indian citizenship and show that he is not an illegal immigrant from Bangladesh.

The notice, issued on July 6, asked Hoque to appear before the court on September 11 to prove his citizenship, failing which the case against him would continue ex-parte. The tribunal is likely to hear the case on October 13. Kalahikash resident Mohd Azmal Hoque was recently served a notice by the Foreigner's Tribunal which placed him in the "doubtful-voter" category. In 2012, his wife Mamtaj Begum was also summoned by the tribunal to prove her citizenship. "The investigating authorities, like the Election Commission of India and the Assam Border police, randomly pick and frame Indian citizens as illegal immigrants and send their cases to the Foreigners Tribunal".

Citing the Army recruitment process, the retired soldier said that the army conducts a police verification before accepting troops.

Appointed as a Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) in 2003, Mohd Azmal Haque - who lives in Chayyagaon, 70 km from state capital Guwahati - retired previous year.

"I'm very hurt at this treatment", said Haque whose elder son is studying at Rashtriya Indian Military College (RIMC) and aspires to be an army man.

Hindustan Times quoted Hoque saying "This incident has saddened me a lot".

Infiltration from Bangladesh is a sensitive issue in the eastern state.

"If I were an illegal Bangladeshi, how could I serve the Indian army?" he asked. At the time, the couple had to present documents to prove their citizenship.

Earlier in 2012 Haque was accused of being an illegal immigrant in 2012 by Foreigns' Tribunal. It attempts to create a data base of people who had lived in Assam before the cut-off date in 2010 was mired by chaos, police firing and it had to be stopped.

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