The impasse over the last rites of the body of a ‘declared Bangladeshi foreigner’ continues as his family refused to receive the body unless the administration declares him a citizen. The body has been kept at the morgue of Guwahati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) since the past five days.
Dulal Paul, a 65-years-old man was declared a Bangladeshi by a Foreigners' Tribunal in 2017 and was lodged at the Tezpur Jail-cum-Detention Centre when he fell sick and was brought to the hospital. The Assam government had ordered a magisterial probe into his death, after over 10,000 locals blocked roads and staged dharnas, reports NDTV.
The inmate's oldest son Ashish, told NDTV, "Since the state has declared him a foreigner, they should hand over his body to Bangladesh. We will accept the body only if the government issued a statement that Paul was not a foreigner but an Indian."
According to The Sentinel, Paul's family members claimed that they have land-related documents from 1960, and two of Paul's siblings have had their names appeared in the NRC and yet the Foreigners' Tribunal had declared him as a foreigner.
Sonitpur district officials led by ADC Kulen Sharma and Additional SP Numal Mahanta on Monday visited the residence of Ashish Paul urging him to receive the body which he declined, Mahanta said. Another team of district officials again went to his house on Tuesday with the same request, Tezpur Jail-cum-Detention Centre's superintendent Mrinmay Dawka said.
According to PTI, Paul was being treated for diabetes and psychiatric ailments and was examined by doctors of the Tezpur Medical College and Hospital (TMCH) on 11 October and brought back to the detention centre the same day. However, he fell ill the next day and was taken to TMCH. He was referred to GMCH the same day, where he died on 13 October.
Meanwhile, Assam Congress Committee general secretary and spokesperson Apurba Kumar Bhattacharjya said, a team of the party led by APCC president Ripun Bora visited Alisinga village, where Dulal Paul was a resident, on Tuesday.
"The villagers said how can they receive the body if he is declared a Bangladeshi?," Bhattacharjya said. Claiming that "BJP had come to power in the state with the promise to protect Hindu Bengalis", Bhattacharjya said, the villagers deplored the alleged failure of the ruling party leaders to visit Paul's residence.
Asserting that "a sympathetic humanistic approach" was missing from the state government even after Paul's death, the Congress leader urged Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, who is also the in-charge of the Home Department, to "rise above petty politics and settle the issue".
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: Oct 18, 2019 12:55:17 IST