As the impasse continues, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has stepped in and requested the family members of Dulal Chandra Paul to receive his body and perform the last rites.
This was said by Sonowal in a meeting held with the members of All Assam Bengali Youth Students’ Federation (ASBYSF) on the said issue. Even after a week, Paul’s family members have refused to accept the body.
Biplab Das, Central Vice-President of ASBYSF, speaking to Time8 said, “In the meeting, Chief Minister had assured us that he will help the bereaved family to file an appeal at the Supreme Court as he has been declared a foreigner by the Gauhati High Court. To this, we had appealed him to resolve in the case in the High Court itself by reviewing his documents.”
Sonowal also promised to visit the Paul household which is located in Alisinga village of Sonitpur district in Assam after his cremation, added Das. “We will visit the family of Paul today and deliver the message of Sonowal but the final decision will be theirs and we will accept it,” said Das.
It may be mentioned, Paul who was lodged in a detention centre in Tezpur died at the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital a week ago. He was declared a foreigner in the year 2017 and since then he had been staying in the detention camp.
Soon after his death, the family members have been refusing to take his body until the government declares him as an Indian. The body is still kept at the GMCH morgue since October 13th, 2019. The Assam government has also ordered a magisterial probe into the death of Paul.
Assam forest minister Parimal Suklabaidya, State Bharatiya Janata Party president Ranjeet Kumar Dass and Dhekiajuli legislator Ashok Singhal visited the residence of Paul on October 19th, 2019. The leaders assured the family that Sonowal has ordered an assessment of cases of people who claim that they are Indians with legitimate documents but have been declared foreigners.
Meanwhile, the family members of Paul are adamant that they will not take the body back unless the foreigner tag is removed.
Photo credit: @sarbanandsonwal (L) and Time8 (R)