Muslim Army Veteran Detained on Charges of Being ‘Foreigner’, Gets Bail


GUWAHATI — The Gauhati High Court on Friday granted interim bail to Mohammed Sanaullah, the Kargil war veteran who was declared a foreigner by a tribunal in Assam last month and sent to a detention camp.

Millions of people in Assam are scrambling to prove their citizenship after the BJP led government, mandated residents of Assam to produce documents proving that they or their families lived in the country before March 24, 1971.

Police said they sent Mohammed Sana Ullah, 52, to a detention centre in Assam based on the order of a Foreigners’ Tribunal.

The BJP, which increased its parliamentary majority this month after a general election, has promised to identify all migrants living in the country illegally, give citizenship to all non-Muslims from neighbouring Muslim majority countries such as Bangladesh and Pakistan, and expel the rest.

A division bench of the High Court headed by Justice Monojit Bhuyan and P.K. Deka passed the orders against bail bonds of Rs 20,000 and two sureties, but asked the retired soldier not to leave the territorial jurisdiction of Kamrup and Kamrup (Metro) districts without informing the Superintendent of Police (Border).

The bench also issued notices to all the respondents of the case, including Union of India, state of Assam, Defence Ministry, authorities of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the investigating officer of the Assam police.

The case of Md. Sanaullah was represented by renowned Supreme Court lawyer Indira Jaising while the respondent side was represented by Advocate U.K. Nair.

“We have got the bail orders. He will be released from the detention camp soon,” said Advocate Burhanur Rahma, who assisted Indira Jaising in the case in the High Court on Friday.

The court, however, made it clear that the authorities concerned will connect the biometrics of Sanaullah before releasing him from the detention centre.

Sanaullah served the Indian Army from 1987 to 2017. He was awarded a Presidents’ Medal when he was promoted to the rank of Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) in 2014. He retired as a Honorary Captain from the Indian Army.

After retirement, he had joined Assam police as a Sub Inspector and was attached to the Border Wing of the Assam police.

The Foreigners’ Tribunal at Boko in Assam’s Kamrup district on May 23 declared him a foreigner following which he was detained by the police on May 28 and sent to a detention camp. The tribunal’s judgement was based on a case filed against him by the Border Police saying he is an illegal migrant.

‘This is my reward for serving country’

Speaking to Reuters as he was shoved inside a police vehicle on the way to the detention centre in the border town of Goalpara,  Sana Ullah said he was heartbroken.

“This is the reward I got after serving for 30 years in the Indian army,” said Mohammed Sana Ullah, currently a deputy inspector in the border wing of the Assam Police. “I am an Indian, very much an Indian and will forever remain an Indian.”


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