Dhubri: Staring through the camera lenses, watery eyed and in a dismal state, 91 year old Moyna Barman weakly murmurs her story. She has been declared a doubtful voter (D Voter) in the year 2007 and has been served notice to appear before a Foreigners’ Tribunal (FT) to prove her ‘citizenship’ of India.
Barman says that she was born and spent her life in the riverine regions of Dhubri district along the Indo-Bangladesh border area all her life. She informed that she was born in the Maitel villager adjacent to the Indo-Bangladesh border which falls under the jurisdiction of the Golakganj police station and is located in the Gauripur Legislative Assembly Council in Dhubri district.
“I was named Moyna at birth and that is my only name,” she says. “But back in the day, I was so beautiful, people started calling me Devi meaning goddess and that’s how my name got distorted in official records and it got recorded as Moyna Moti Devi in the NRC,” explains the old lady in a trembling voice, recalling her past with tears in her eyes.
Moyna Barman’s heartbreaking story resonates other such cases who have either passed away or are still making their monthly rounds to Foreigner’s Tribunal to prove their Indian Citizenship.
I’m uneducated, but why did the educated people make this mistake,” asks Barman “why such a small thing cannot be corrected and people like us do not know much official works are harassed?”
Moyna Barman is not alone, there are many others, both young and old who await their fate to be declared even if the NRC continues to remain shrouded in the dark and with the BJP-led central government hell bent in trying to impose the Citizenship Act in Assam to pave way for refugees of minority communities in other neighbouring countries to get Indian Citizenship.