Assam tea garden worker released from detention centre

Silchar: A tea garden worker, who was declared a ‘foreigner’ by a tribunal, was released on bail from a detention centre in Assam’s Silchar on Thursday after being imprisoned for three years, prison officials said.
The Supreme Court, which monitored the NRC update exercise in Assam, last year ruled that people declared ‘foreigners’ by the tribunal and in detention centres for more than three years be released. Tea garden worker Sukhdev Ree’s family, however, feel he will have to live with the ‘foreigner’ tag and will not be able to appeal against the tribunal’s ruling in the Gauhati High Court due to their poor financial condition.
Except for Ree, names of all members of his family have found a place in the final list of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), his wife Sishubala said.
“We could not even fight in the lower court due to paucity of money. How can we contest the tribunal’s ruling in the High Court? Sukhdev might have to live with the ‘foreigner’ tag for the rest of his life,” she told PTI. Sishubala said after receiving a notice from DSP (Border) of Hailakandi district in 2012 that he was a person of doubtful citizenship, Ree had submitted all his documents before a Foreigners Tribunal in 2013 to prove his nationality.
“My husband was declared a foreigner ex parte in 2016 after he was unable to attend repeated cross-examination due to our inability to pay our lawyer’s fees,” she said. He was then sent to a detention centre in Silchar Jail which is among six such facilities in the state. The other detention centres in Assam are in Dibrugarh, Tezpur, Jorhat, Kokrajhar and Goalpara. (PTI)

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