The impasse over the last rites of an ‘illegal foreigner from Bangladesh’ continues as his family refused to receive the body unless the administration declares him a bonafide Indian citizen. The body has been kept at the morgue of Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) since the past five days. ‘Mentally unstable’ Dulal Chandra Paul passed away on October 13th, 2019 in Guwahati.
Paul, a resident of Alisinga was staying at the Tezpur detention camp since 2017 after a Foreigners’ Tribunal (FT) declared him a foreigner. He was admitted at the GMCH on September 28th, 2019.
Even after five days of Paul’s death, the bereaved family has refused to receive the body. The family members told Time8 that officials are ‘exerting pressure’ to receive the body. “We will receive the body if the government issues a certified copy declaring that Paul as an Indian citizen and not a foreigner,” the family members said.
“How could my father be a foreigner when all of the other family members are bonafide citizens of India? The government should decide first. My father had all the relevant documents of 1965. This incident has exposed the real picture of the FTs operating in the state,” Ashok Paul, son of deceased said while speaking to Time8.
Meanwhile, several groups and organizations extended support to Paul’s family members’ decision to not accept the body until he is declared an Indian.
“How can we accept the body of a foreigner and perform the last rites in India? We will continue to protest and won’t receive the body until and unless he is declared a citizen of India. And, if the administration continues to exert pressure on us to receive the body, our last decision will be to commit suicide,” Ashok added.