Representational image. | Image Courtesy: Scroll.in
Assam: Ashraf Ali, an 84-year-old man was found dead near his residence in Sontoli village under Boko legislative constituency in Kamrup district on Sunday morning. The incident comes three days after he attended a hearing related to an objection to the inclusion of his name in the final draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC). He reportedly went missing on Saturday evening.
The family members, neighbours and villagers of Ashraf Ali reportedly suspect that he committed suicide by taking poison. According to his family members, Ali was called for NRC hearing three days ago in Nalbari district, ahead of the publication of the final National Register of Citizens (NRC) on July 31, 2019. After he returned home, he was depressed and even stopped eating his meals, Sentinel Assam reported.
According to a report in The Indian Express, Kamrup Additional SP Sanjib Saikia said, “There was no trace of poison near the body. It does not seem to be suicide.”
Ali was “terribly frightened” that he might be transferred to the detention camp after the exclusion of his name from the NRC. After the hearing, fingerprints of both his hands were taken, which scared him. In the village, there were rumours claiming that if a person’s biometric details are recorded, it’s likely that he or she will be excluded from the list.
Currently, almost a thousand persons have been detained in the six detention camps in Assam.
Also read: Assam: Indefinite Detention for Those Without Documents
As per a report in The Shillong Times, Jogendra Barman, in-charge of Boko police station, said: “We suspect he might have died naturally, owing to old age-related ailments. The body has been sent to post mortem.” The Boko police have registered the case of an unnatural death. The body has been sent to Gauhati Medical College hospital for post mortem.
Ali’s name was included in the final draft of NRC published on July 30, 2018. In the final draft of the NRC, a total of 2,89,83,677 persons were found eligible out of 3,29,91,384 applicants. And about 40,07,707 people were not included in the final draft of the NRC. Out of these, 37,59,630 names have already been rejected and the remaining 2,48,077 are on hold, and are considered as 'D' Voters. The final draft that was released last year has faced major criticism from several sections of the society in which many have been excluded from the list without conducting any proper investigation.
With respect to the order of the Supreme Court of India, NRC is currently being updated in Assam to detect Bangladeshi nationals who might have entered the state illegally after the midnight of March 24, 1971.
In Ashraf’s case, however, he had a voter ID card, and his name was in the 1971 voters’ list.
The NRC is going to be published on July 31, 2019.
Also read: With Final NRC Draft to be Released in 20 Days, Assam Witnessing Rise in Suicides