AAMSU raises concerns about communal FT member with Home Secretary

After calling Muslims “jehadi” and “jahil” in official communication, the FT member gives religion-wise break up of people not declared foreigners

Foriegner TribunalImage Courtesy: sentinelassam.com

In yet another development in the ongoing controversy surrounding the use of communal words by a member of a Foreigners’ Tribunal in Baksa in an official letter, it has come to light that the FT member has issued a clarification giving a religion-wise break-up of people declared foreigners. But, instead of allaying fears, this has raised further red flags as FTs are quasi-judicial authorities, and therefore should not classify people whose matters are brought before them based on their religion.

Now the All Assam Minorities Students’ Union has written to the Home Secretary to look into the matter. AAMSU refers to a letter dated April 4, 2020, by Baksa FT member Kamlesh Kumar Gupta to Assam Health Minister Hemanta Biswa Sarma offering donations collected from other FT members. This letter however stipulated that none of the funds be used for providing relief to people who contracted the virus at the Tablighi Jamaat event organized in New Delhi’s Nizamuddin Markaz in March saying, “ “Our only prayer is that the help may not be extended to the members of Violators Tablighi Jamaat, Jehadi and Jahil.”

In their letter, AAMSU says, “That, the aforesaid letter by the Member of Foreigners Tribunal received wide condemnation and reported in national and regional media. Thereafter, the Member of Foreigners Tribunal, Baksa namely Kamalesh Kumar Gupta issued a self-proclaimed clarification on 11.04.2020 wherein stated that, as per records available with him, 9 persons belonging Hindu were declared not foreigners and 23 persons belonging to Muslim community were declared as not foreigners. It may be stated that the classification of persons based on religion by a Member of Foreigners Tribunal is not only condemnable but also improper.”

AAMSU adds, “It should be recalled that in the coming future the Members of Foreigners Tribunals would be responsible for deciding the appeals to be preferred by the people against their exclusion from the final National Register of Citizens (NRC). The letter dated 07.04.2020 is deeply prejudiced against a particular community.”

AAMSU brings up the possibility of his prejudice influencing his decisions and demands that Gupta be removed from his post saying, “That, the doctrine of bias is a unique judicial innovation consistent with the principle that the justice delivery system must be rooted in the confidence of the people and justice must not only be done but also appear to have been done. Therefore, the aforesaid Member of Foreigners Tribunal, Baksa may not be allowed to continue to decide the citizenship as there is reasonable apprehension in the mind of the people that there is the likelihood that his inherent bias and prejudice will influence his decision rather than the merit of the case.”

The entire letter by AAMSU may be read here:

Last week Barpeta MP Abdul Khaleque had also written to Assam Chief Minister Sarbanada Sonowal demanding that Gupta be fired. “By referring to member of one religious community (Muslims) as ‘Jehadi’ and ‘Jahil’ in writing that was widely circulated on Whatsapp and other media, the officer concerned has clearly stoked disharmony, ill-will, feelings of enmity and hatred between different communities, in the region and in the whole nation,” Khaleque had said.


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