Retired Assamese soldier asked to prove he is Indian
Mohd Azmal Hoque's wife was also asked to prove her citizenship in 2012. She did so then by saying she was married to Hoque. Photograph: (DNA)
Mohd Azmal Hoque served with the Army for 30 years, retiring a year ago on September 30, 2016.
He was devastated, the DNA newspaper reported, when Assam's Foreigners' Tribunal demanded that he prove that he an Indian citizen. (The Supreme Court has ordered Assam to update its National Register of Citizens by December 31, 2017.)
The retired soldier was put in the "doubtful-voter" category by the tribunal which has asked him to appear before it with the relevant documents.
Hoque missed the first date, September 11, because the notice reached him only later.
He has now been asked to appear before the tribunal on October 13.
Hoque joined the Indian Army in September 1986 as a mechanical engineer. He retired as a junior commissioned officer.
"After a six-month military training, I have served the Army in the technical department from various places. I was at the LoC in Punjab's Khemkaran Sector and Kalaigaon, at Tawang on the Indo-China border, at Lucknow, at Kota. I also had a stint at the College of Defence Management at Secunderabad," Hoque told DNA over the telephone.
He said he served in the computer and networking department and trained at Secunderabad 1 EME Training Centre.
Hoque said his wife Mamataj Begum was also asked to appear before the tribunal in 2012 to prove her citizenship.
Begum proved her citizenship by saying she was married to Hoque.
The notice issued to Hoque states that he came to India post-1971, sans documents.
"My father's name (Maqbool Ali) is in the 1966 voter's list, and in village surveys in 1961, 1962 and we have kheraj patta from 1963, while my mother's name (Rahimon Nesa) is mentioned in the 1951 National Register of Citizens (NRC)," Hoque told DNA.
He added that one of his sons is a scholarship student at the Rashtriya Indian Military College in Dehradun.
"I am a Khilonjia Axomiya (someone whose origins are in Assam); I belong to this soil. Why is the government trying to harass us on communal grounds?" Hoque told DNA.