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Published in the 1-15 Mar 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

For Delhi police Indians are “Bangladeshis”
By Andalib Akhter 

New Delhi: At a time when politicians are talking a lot about welfare of Muslims across the country, the very existence of the Muslims particularly the poor Muslims is threatened and that too in the national capital. After a brief gap the campaign has started again to brand Indian Muslims as Bangladeshi and they are even being forcibly deported to Bangladesh. As one goes by the latest report which appeared in a Delhi eveninger it becomes obvious how the officials and Delhi police are harassing Bangla speaking Muslims in the city. The newspaper reported that an Assamese, Tajuddin alias Taju (21) was deported to Bangladesh by the special branch of Delhi police in spite of his insistence that he was an Indian from Assam. The young boy had never thought even in his wildest dream that he would become an alien in his own motherland. The special branch of Delhi Police picked up Taju on February 9 at 10 AM from the Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium area in South Delhi. His friends say though he produced certain documents to prove his nationality, the cops simply tore them up. They took him to the local police station and initiated the process to deport him as an illegal Bangladeshi staying in Delhi.

The newspaper reported that an Assamese, Tajuddin alias Taju (21) was deported to Bangladesh by the special branch of Delhi police in spite of his insistence that he was an Indian from Assam. The young boy had never thought even in his wildest dream that he would become an alien in his own motherland.

Before deporting a person, checks are conducted at the local police station and the special deportation Branch to verify the identity of the person. Besides, the Foreigner's Regional Registration Office (FRRO), the nodal agency, also has to approve before the deportation process is initiated. "Ignoring these requirements the police forced Taju to sign on the dotted lines. After completing all the official formalities for an illegal citizen the youth was deported on Feb 13. from the Sarai Rohila camp of FRRO under the foreigner's Act 1946" wrote Delhi Midday. His name was mentioned as Tajuddin (21), son of Abdul Ruff, resident of Ram Nagar under the police station of Moralganj, Gulna, Bangladesh. According to FRRO, the BSF, to whom the illegal migrants are handed over at the border might have released him 'somewhere' along the 4200 KM porous Indo-Bangladesh border. But according to the paper Taju’s real story is somewhat different from what the police claimed. Tajuddin is the son of Abdul Rub alias Kutti, a resident of Khudanabari, under Sharbuk police station in Chukrungbari postal circle, Assam . His grand father's name is Shamshul Hooda and the family is Indian by birth. Taju studied for a while in Khudanabari primary school before he came to Delhi four years ago. When contacted, the local village chieftain Ismael Pradhan confirmed that he knew Kutti and Taju and their family has been staying in area for decades and they have also exercised their franchise in many elections. 

Meanwhile Delhi police have accepted that sometimes such incidents do take place. "There are many instances of Police wrongfully identifying persons. But we release them once we are convinced of their identity", said inspector Rajendra Singh of Special Branch. Taju however was not so lucky as according to the police his identity was not found to be correct. Recently a Delhi High court order asked Delhi police to deport at least 100 illegal Bangladeshi per day. Similarly the Home ministry is also pressurizing the police to go fast on Bangladeshi issue. This pressure led the police to deport even Indian nationals to Bangladesh. The deportation of illegal Bangladeshis has been a bone of contention between the two countries. In fact this had even caused considerable tension between BSF and Bangladeshi Rifles. Dhaka has always been complaining of high-handedness and coercion by India.
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