Just few days back as part of it’s ongoing CAA anniversary campaign, The Quint had featured the story of Chandradhar Das.
Chandradhar Das, 104, a resident Amraghat area under Dholai constituency in Cachar district of Assam, was declared a foreigner in January 2018.
It was an ex parte judgment by the Foreigners Tribunal after he missed the notices of the tribunal and didn’t appear for the hearing.
“My father left Bangladesh in mid-1950s due to the continuous threat from the majority community. He entered India through Tripura and started working as a daily wage labourer in Teliamura. He got married and had kids there. But soon local militant groups started creating problems so he moved to the Bengali-dominated Barak Valley. But he was declared an illegal foreigner by the tribunal court. Even our names are not in the NRC.”Niyati Rai, Chandradhar Das’ Daughter
The then 102-year-old Chandradhar Das was taken to the detention camp in Silchar Central Jail in May 2018. As his health condition started deteriorating, he was given bail after three months on humanitarian grounds.
After the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) was passed in Parliament in December 2019, the family was hopeful that Chandradhar Das would finally get his Indian citizenship. His only wish was that, he wanted to die as an Indian.
But it was not to be. On 14 December Chandradhar Das died in his home in Amraghat.
“If the government wasn’t reluctant, maybe he could have got his citizenship. The CAA was passed last year. Normally it takes around three months to prepare the modalities but astonishingly it is not the case with CAA. This single incident proved how faulty our social system is. The man was really full of life but couldn’t prove his citizenship before his death.”Soumen Choudhury, Chadradhar’s Lawyer
Chandradhar’s last wish was not fulfilled. He didn’t die as an Indian but as a suspected Bangladeshi immigrant living illegally on Indian soil.