“Foreigner” stamp on ex-Indian Army Officer who served in Kashmir

Guwahati – In a shocking incident, a former Indian Army officer who served in Kashmir has been declared foreigner by a tribunal on Wednesday and sent him to a detention center inside Goalpara jail in Assam.

The 52-year-old Mohammed Sanaullah is an Indian citizen living in Kamrup district which is about 50km west from Guwahati, but a tribunal declared him foreigner after spotting a discrepancy in his affidavit and the documents proving his age and parental linkage. Tribunal has also found mismatch in the name of his wife’s name and his service discharge book.

Sanaullah in his affidavit mentioned that he had joined the army in 1987 and had also served Doda and Kumpwara in Jammu and Kashmir.

In 2014, Sanaullah was awarded the President’s certificate and promoted to a junior commissioned officer in the rank of Naik Subedar with effect from September 1, 2012. He was later promoted to a Subedar (a rank equivalent to captain) before his retirement in 2017.

Interestingly in 2018, he worked as sub-inspector in the border branch of Assam police dealing with the foreigner cases.

Sanaullah’s family has decided to challenge it in Gauhati high court soon. “We will move the high court as the tribunal gave the order based on improper investigation by border police. We are also unhappy with the way the tribunal handled the case and declared him a foreigner. This is an insult to a veteran army person,” Sanaullah’s cousin, Azmal Haque, who also served in the army told media.

The same foreigner tribunal last year cleared Haque in a similar case, which was registered by the border police on suspicion of being a foreigner.

Sanaullah’s family, including his wife, two daughters and a son were barred from applying for inclusion in the National Register of Citizens (NRC), which is being updated in Assam to segregate foreigners from the Indian citizens.

Over four lakh cases of suspected illegal migrants or doubtful voters are pending with over 36 foreigner tribunals, which are meant to deport suspected and illegal foreign migrants from the neighboring Bangladesh after March 24 1971. In a desperate attempt to clear off the cases, people are detained by chance.