Ex-Army man, a retired ‘JCO’ declared foreigner

Guwahati: Can’t do much of a help at this point was Army response to Mohammed Sanaullah a subedar retired as an Honorary Captain in August 2017 declared a foreigner by the Border police on May 28.

The Army said it has a “big heart” for Mohammed Sanaullah, a retired junior commissioned officer who was declared a foreigner and also sent to a detention camp in western Assam’s Goalpara on May 28 by the Border Police, the very wing of the State police that had recruited the ex-serviceman as an assistant sub-inspector to detect non- citizens.

“We called his wife Samina Begum to our cantonment on Thursday to console her and assure her of our help whenever the need arises,” an Army officer said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

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“Our officers tried to share the grief of an Army veteran’s wife,” the officer added.

“[There] is very little the Army can do at this juncture” as his matter has now become a legal case.

“We discussed his case with the Rajya Sainik Board too. They said he has to fight this out through lawyers. But we will definitely extend help during the course of the legal process, if needed,” the officer added.

Assam’s Directorate of Sainik Welfare (DSW) on Friday has told that it has “guided” the ex-serviceman to approach the Gauhati High Court regarding the confusion over Mr. Sanaullah’s identity and the record held with the National Register of Citizens.

“The undersigned immediately contacted two good advocates and their help/assistance is being taken,” Brigadier (Retd.) Joshi Narain Dutt Ganesh Dutt, director, DSW, said in the letter.

Previously, the retired military officers had pressed on Army’s interference in and aid to the ex-serviceman.

“Honorary Lieutenant Mohd Sanaullah arrested & sent to Detention Center for foreigners & illegal immigrants in Gauhati. Arrest follows an order of a Foreigners’ tribunal. Army needs to investigate & save the retired officer from harassment,” retired Brigadier V. Mahalingam tweeted the Additional Directorate General of Public Information under the Ministry of Defence.

Meanwhile, Brigadier (Retd.) Ranjit Barthakur termed the situation as the onset unfortunate one as it happened to the honouraby discharged JCO.

“If he was a Bangladeshi, how could he be serving the Army for 30 years and then the Border Police? The verification for the Indian Army is extensively done by the State government and the Centre,” he pointed out.

Mr Sanaullah now aged 52, a resident of Boko, about 60 km west of Guwahati honorably retired as JCO received a notice to appear before the Foreigners Tribunal in 2018 almost a decade after a sub-inspector of the Border Police had marked him as an ‘illiterate labourer’ born at village Kasimpur in Bangladesh’s Dhaka district.

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