Ground Report | New Delhi: Tribal declared foreigner; A 65-year-old labourer in Assam’s Hailakandi district left the world with the desire to prove his Indian identity. Sukdev Ree, 65, was declared a foreign national for not being able to prove his identity. On November 3, the Gauhati High Court found the Foreigners Tribunal’s order to be incomplete and asked the Hailakandi Foreigners Tribunal (FT) to hear the matter again on December 3, 2021.
Sukdev Ree was a resident of Mohanpur village of Algapur assembly constituency in Hailakandi district. He was released from detention camps on February 26 last year on the basis of the Supreme Court’s advice to release prisoners who have been sentenced to two years or more.
Twitter user Aman Wadud wrote, “Sukdev Ree, an Adivasi tea garden worker, was declared a ‘foreigner’ ex-parte, he was unable to pay his lawyer – Detained for 3 yrs till 2019 We recently got his case remanded, HC asked him to appear before FT on 3rd Dec Sukdev expired today,as a ‘foreigner’, in his motherland!”
A daily wage earner, Ree used to earn ₹ 110 per day whenever production was going on in the tea garden. A case was registered against him in 2012 and he appeared in court several times before his arrest on June 24, 2016. (Tribal declared foreigner)
The Tribunal Court unilaterally declared Sukdev Ree to be a foreigner of the section after 25.03.1971 as he did not appear at the time of cross-examination on several occasions. “The petitioner failed to discharge the burden imposed on him under section 9 of the Foreigners Act, 1946,” the court said.
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Earlier this month, the Gauhati HC found the Hailakandi Foreigners Tribunal’s April 2016 order to declare Ree as a foreigner incomplete. Hearing a petition to reopen Ree’s case on 3 November, Justice Koteshwar Singh and Justice Malashree Nandy said that Ree should be given another chance to prove his citizenship. After failing to appear for cross-examination on several occasions, Ree was declared a “foreigner” after 1971 by the Tribunal.
Similarly, in December last year, 104-year-old Chandradhar Das also died before proving his Indian identity. Das came to India from East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) in 1956.