The Gauhati High Court on Friday ordered the release of the Kargil hero Mohammad Sanaullah, an Indian army veteran who was declared a foreigner by the Foreigners Tribunal in Assam.
Sanaullah’s arrest on 28 May had caused global outrage with many even condemning the Indian army for not standing by one of its own. A report by Janta Ka Reporter had later said that three witnesses, whose alleged testimonies were used to declare an Indian war hero a foreigner, had claimed their statements and signatures were forged by one police officer Chandramal Das.
Sanaullah had approached the high court against the tribunal’s decision after he was detained and sent to a detention centre. Sanaullah was being represented by senior advocate Indira Jaising. Also assisting her were lawyers HRA Choudhury, PK Deka, Aman Wadud and Syed Burhanur Rehman. A report by Livelaw website said that while ordering his release, Justice Manojit Bhuyan said that Sanaullah needed to furnish bail bond of Rs. 20,000/- with two local sureties. The former army soldier has also been directed not to move out of the territorial limits of Kamrup, without prior approval of Superintendent of Police, Kamrup. The court has ordered the officials to obtain his biometrics data before releasing him.
The high court directed all the respondents including the BJP governments of Assam and the Centre, Assam Border Police and NRC authorities to respond within four weeks. Inquiry officer Chandramal Das, who allegedly forged statements and signatures, too has been included as one of the respondents.
The Foreigners Tribunal in Assam’s Kamrup district had filed a case against Sanaullah in 2008 after his name was listed as a “D” (doubtful) voter. He was quickly arrested and sent to a detention camp in Goalpara. The three witnesses (Md. Kuran Ali, Md. Suwahan Ali and Ajmal Ali from Koloikash village, where Sanuallah lived) said that Sanaullah was a genuine Indian citizen and was being ‘harassed by the Assam Border Police, which had conspired to declare him a doubtful voter.’