The National Human Rights Commission has issued a notice to the Assam government over alleged harassment of people by the police in the name of "verification of their nationality" in the State.
The NHRC in a statement today said, it has taken cognisance of a media report, which said, there are "detention centres in Assam, where the people, under scanner, are "lodged in two categories, Bangladeshis and D-voters".
The rights panel has sent the notice to the chief secretary the State government "after taking suo motu cognisance of the allegations reported in the media about the harassment being meted out to the people by the police in the name of verification of their nationality in the State".
"Reportedly, due to the illegal immigration from Bangladesh to Assam, the people belonging to the Bengali- origin are under scanner for years together and the Assam government has set up the Foreigners' Tribunals to deal with the doubtful cases," the NHRC said. The Commission has observed that it has carefully perused and examined the content of the media report, carried on October 31.
"The steps taken to identify the suspect cases of illegal immigration and setting up of the Foreigners' Tribunals is a policy perspective of the government and it would not like to intervene into that matter," the NHRC said. However, the allegations that "in the name of verification, the poor people are being subjected to harassment and humiliation is a matter of concern for the Commission, as it amounts to violation of right to equality and dignity of the innocent victims," it observed.
The Commission, quoting from the report said, in many cases, once a person is declared an Indian citizen, he or she is "again served notice by the police". "It is further mentioned that at the time of hearing, the subjects are not allowed to wear their shoes and they have to enter barefoot, inside the court, while the government officers and advocates are exempted," it added.
A specific case of one Moinal Molla has been mentioned in the media report, the rights panel said. His parents, wife, children, brother and the rest of the family are Indians and still his citizenship was rejected by the authorities. He spent more than two years at a detention centre, they said.
"It was only after the intervention by the apex court, the justice was done in his case," it added. "As mentioned in the report, there are 89,395 people estimated as illegal immigrants in Assam till August 2017 and currently there are more than 2,000 people languishing in the detention centres, across the state, who are, allegedly, being subjected to discrimination," the NHRC said.