In the backdrop of reports that a decorated former army officer has been declared a foreigner by a tribunal in Assam, the Supreme Court on Thursday asked the NRC state coordinator to ensure that fair procedure is adopted in dealing with the claims and objections on inclusion of citizens in the draft National Register of Citizens (NRC).
A vacation bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Aniruddha Bose, without referring to any specific matter, said "disturbing" reports have emerged in the media regarding procedure to deal with claims and objections. According to Assam police, Mohammad Sanaullah, a former army officer who had won a President's medal, was apprehended on Wednesday and sent to a detention camp in after a foreigners' tribunal declared him a 'foreigner'.
Family members of Sanaullah, a resident of Kolohikash village in Kamrup district, have said they will approach the Gauhati High Court against the tribunal's order. "There are very disturbing reports in the media. The media is not always correct but sometimes media is right also," the apex court bench told state NRC coordinator Prateek Hajela. The apex court observed this while hearing the Assam NRC matter. Sanaullah is now serving as assistant sub-inspector (ASI) in border police.
A case was registered in 2008 after Sanaullah's name was listed as a 'D' (doubtful) voter in the voters list, according to Kamrup district Additional Superintendent of Police Sanjib Saikia. After the verdict of the tribunal, Saikia said police according to laid down procedure, picked up Sanaullah and took him to the detention camp in Goalpara district to be lodged there. Before proceeding to the camp, Sanaullah told waiting journalists that he is an Indian citizen and has all the necessary documents of his citizenship.
He said he served the country's interests for 30 years (1987-2017), joining the force as an official of Electronic and Mechanical Engineering department and was also awarded with President's Medal in 2014. The Congress on Thursday hit out at the BJP government over the issue, saying it shows the "high-handedness and flawed manner" in which the NRC exercise is being implemented in the northeastern state.
The draft Assam National Register of Citizens (NRC) was published on July 30, 2018 in which the names of 2.89 crore of the 3.29 crore people were included. The names of 40,70,707 people did not figure in the list. Of these, 37,59,630 names have been rejected and the remaining 2,48,077 are on hold.