Armyman for 30 years, now accused of being illegal Bangladeshi immigrant

Armyman for 30 years, now accused of being illegal Bangladeshi immigrant

Mohd Azmal Haque, a resident of Assam, retired from the Indian army last year. He says in 2012, his wife faced similar allegations

SAM Staff,

After serving the Army for 30 years, a retired soldier has been accused of being an illegal migrant from Bangladesh and a case has been registered against him by the Assam police. The foreigners’ tribunal will hear the matter on October 13.

Mohd. Azmal Haque – who lives in Chayyagaon, 70 km from state capital Guwahati — retired as a Junior Commissioned Officer last year. “I am very sad, I cried a lot. My soul is broken… After 30 years of service I have to face such insult,” Mr Haque told NDTV. “If I were an illegal Bangladeshi, how could I serve the Indian army?”

Mr Haque, who was appointed as a Junior Commissioned Officer in 2003, says he has pension, school and other documents that show even his mother was listed as an Indian in 1951. Mandatory police verification was conducted when he had joined the army, he added.

Infiltration from Bangladesh is a sensitive issue in Assam. The state, which had six Muslim-majority districts in 2001, had nine within a decade. Last year, the BJP came to power in the state with a key promise of ending illegal immigration by sealing the 262-km-long porous border. But locals allege there have been several cases in which Indian nationals have been harassed.

Aman Wadud, Mr Haque’s lawyer said, “Most the people targeted by investigating agencies are beggars, daily wage earners, rickshahwaalahs.”

Mr Haque said in 2012, his wife Mumtaz Begum also faced similar allegations. At the time, the couple had to present documents to prove their citizenship. “We produced all documents at the tribunal court that time…  they declared her a proper Indian citizen,” he said.

This incident has triggered sharp reaction in social media.