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“They forcefully sent me to Guwahati Medical College. I didn’t want to go because I was fine. But they beat me up and forcefully sent me to Guwahati. When the baby was inside me I think it was fine. I could feel it move inside me. They gave me an injection and after that the baby died inside me. I think they killed my child.”Momiran Nessa, Former Detainee in Assam
Forty-seven-year-old Momiran Nessa was lodged in a detention centre in Assam for almost ten years after she was declared a foreigner by the Foreigners Tribunal. She alleged that jail officials of the detention centre in Assam’s Kokrajhar gave her an injection which resulted in the termination of her pregnancy.
She says she was also prevented from attending her husband’s funeral.
“My husband died because of this tension. I think he died of heart failure. I was in a detention camp for almost 10 years and he went through a lot of stress. He died all alone.”Momiran Nessa, Former Detainee in Assam
‘Was Not Allowed to Attend Husband’s Funeral’
Momiran’s brother, Shahjul Haq, said that the jailor of the detention centre had asked him to get the permission from the court allowing his sister to attend the funeral.
“The jailor told me to get permission from the high court. He said only after that would he see what to do next. Getting those papers would’ve meant 3-4 days’ work and we can’t keep dead bodies for so many days. Hence, we didn’t pursue that any further and buried the body without my sister.”Shahjul Haq, Momiron’s brother
I Have Documents To Prove Indian Citizenship: Momiran
Momiran said that she led a sub-human life at the detention centre. For almost ten years, she lived in a cramped space and never had enough to eat.
“It’s really tough to live there. There’s hardly a foot for one person and we are provided just one blanket. And twice in day, we are given some rice to eat. Food, it seems, is cooked without any oil and we are just given boiled vegetables.”Momiran Nessa, Former Detainee in Assam
Momiran claimed she was declared a doubtful voter or ‘D’ voter, despite having all necessary documents to prove her Indian citizenship.
Three important documents in her possession are:
- Her grandfather Abdul Razak’s name in the 1951 NRC certificate
- Her grandfather’s name in the 1966 NRC certificate
- Her father Abdul Motin’s name in the 1971 NRC certificate
“I have committed no mistake. All my documents are in order. When they were enrolling me in the voters list they put ‘D’ against my name. The government has put us through so much trouble. My family has suffered a lot. My husband has died and he has left behind two children. How will I take care of them? I have nothing.”Momiran Nessa, Former Detainee in Assam
Momiran couldn’t place her documents before the Foreigners Tribunal because she couldn’t afford to engage a lawyer.
“Momiron Nessa was marked as doubtful voter without investigation. She filed a written statement before the Foreigners Tribunal but couldn’t exhibit documents of her father and grandfather as proof. Her family couldn’t afford the lawyer for long because of which she couldn’t pursue the case. As a result, foreigners tribunal declared her a foreigner in an exparte order.”Aman Wadud, Lawyer and Human Rights Activist
Momiran’s Family Not Named in NRC List
After Momiran’s name was removed from the voter list and classified as a ‘D’ voter, names of her brothers and 50 other family members were removed from the NRC list of 2019.
“When I asked NRC officer why my family members are not named in the NRC list, he asked me whether anyone in my family is a D voter. When I informed him about my sister, he said that it was because of my sister that we were not listed in NRC list. We have documents of our grandfather and father to prove our Indian citizenship, and still we couldn’t make it to the NRC.”Shahajul Haq, Momiran’s brother
Momiran was released from the detention centre in November 2019, not because she had succeeded in proving her Indian citizenship but because of a Supreme Court order that came in May 2019. The judgment forced the Assam government to release those who had been detained for over three years, but on a condition that they would appear before the police every week.
“Now every week I have to go to the nearest police station. How can I do it every week? I have no husband, no money. Who will take me there?”Momiran Nessa, Former Detainee in Assam
Momiran has no source of income. She has three children who are currently supported by her brothers. She has been pleading for the government’s help, asking for financial assistance.
Momiran’s case details the many dangers a nationwide NRC could pose, while also revealing the glaring flaws of the NRC process.