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Opinion

104-year-old Assam man declared foreigner dies before proving citizenship

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A 104-year-old man from Assam, declared a foreigner by a court almost three years ago, died Sunday night before he could prove that he is an Indian citizen.

Chandradhar Das passed away at his Baraibasti home in Amraghat of Cachar district on Sunday evening, reportedly due to age-related problems. He was cremated by members of his family on the same day.

Das had been declared a foreigner by a foreigner court in January 2018 through an ex parte sentence after he failed to appear before him to prove his citizenship. He was later sent to Silchar Central Prison in March, but was released in June after a public protest against his arrest.

Das had come to India from the former East Pakistan (later Bangladesh after 1971) in 1955. According to the rules, anyone who stays in Assam before 1971 is considered an Indian citizen.

The case against him was not resolved because the refugee certificate that was issued to him in Tripura was not verified by the authorities there.

Das’s status as a foreigner also resulted in his three children and grandchildren being removed from the Assam National Citizens Register, which was updated for the first time since 1951 and published in August last year.

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The registry, which sought to identify Indian nationals and eliminate illegal aliens, had excluded 1.9 million of the 33 million people who applied to be included on the list.

Local reports citing Das’s daughter Niyati say the centurion’s dying wish was to die as an Indian citizen.

Their hopes rose after the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which proposed to grant citizenship to Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, Christians, Parsis and Buddhists from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan, was passed by parliament in December last year. .

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