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9 years after man was declared a 'foreigner', Gauhati HC gives him another chance

The case of Ranjit Das, a resident of Karimganj district, is interesting and unusual.


Sentinel Digital Desk

GUWAHATI: The case of Ranjit Das, a resident of Karimganj district, is interesting and unusual. He was declared a foreigner by a tribunal court in Karimganj as there were discrepancies in many documents he had provided to the Foreigner's Tribunal (FT) when his citizenship was challenged.

The records of the proceedings in the FT court reveal that documents provided by Das showed his ancestors' names were different in a number of documents. His father's name is Nandalal Das in several documents, but on the Class 10 admit card of Ranjit Das, his father's name has been mentioned as Nandakumar Das. His grandfather's name has also been changed more than once. In fact, according to the tribunal, Das could not produce a few other documents required to prove that he was an Indian citizen.

As a result, nine years ago, a Foreigners Tribunal court in Karimganj declared Ranjit Das, a resident of the Patharkandi area of the district, as a foreigner who entered India illegally after 1971. Since then, Ranjit Das has been fighting his case in the Gauhati High Court, challenging the FT's decision. In a written statement to the FT, Das had said that he was born in Uptakhali village in the Dharmanagar area of Tripura. However, he does not remember the date of birth. In 1977, his father, Nandalal Das, moved from Dharmanagar to the Patharkandi police station area in Karimganj district. He claimed that his father's name was on the 1966 voter list for the North Dharmanagar assembly constituency. Ranjit Das submitted its photocopy to the tribunal. His grandfather's name was Sisanna Das on that voter list.

But on the voter list for Patharkandi in 1985, his grandfather's name was listed as Shibendu Das. Again, in 1989, Ranjit's name was on the voter list for Patharkandi but his grandfather's name was Vishenya Das. Interestingly, his grandfather's name was Sisanna Das again on the voter list of 1993. On February 26, 2014, the FT reported that Ranjit was a foreigner who entered India after 1971. According to the tribunal, he could not produce several documents, including the voter lists from 1971, 1985, 1989, 1993, and 1997.

On the other hand, Das has submitted his Class 10 admit card, where it appears that his father's name is Nandalal and not Nandakumar Das. After the FT called him a foreigner, Ranjit Das appealed to reconsider that opinion. But it was rejected. He then filed a writ petition in the Gauhati High Court challenging the opinion of the Foreigner's Tribunal. In a recent order, the High Court offers hope for the man who is seeking another chance to establish his citizenship. The Court said that various voter lists show that Das has established linkages with his father, Nandalal Das. Only his father's name, Nandakumar Das, is written on the admit card. On January 17, two judges of the division bench of the High Court, Achintya Malla Bujarbaruah and Arun Dev Chowdhury, said that the voter' lists of 1966 and 1970 of Dharmanagar and the voters' lists of 1985, 1989, and 1993 of Patharkandi clearly show that Das established linkage with his father. On his Class 10 admit card, however, his father's name is written as Nandakumar Das, not Nandalal.

The two judges sent the case back to the FT and have asked for reconsideration. According to the High Court, the Tribunal should give Ranjit Das the opportunity to explain the errors in the name in various documents. The High Court asked him to appear before the tribunal again on February 17. IANS

Also Read: Must consider Foreigners Tribunals members' grievances: Gauhati High Court

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