Testimony Of
Shukhitan Nessa

Two of Shukhitan Nessa’s sons, Abdul Khalik, aged 36 and Sahijuddin, aged 34, were summoned by the Circle Officer at Sipajhar, apparently for the verification of their documents, but they would only find that out later.

Both of them had been declared D-voters in 2005, but had subsequently been declared Indian and were in possession of all necessary documents to prove their citizenship – including legacy documents relating to the 1951 NRC list, voters' lists of 1966 and 1971 and a land document from 1965. Unsure of why they had been summoned, they went empty-handed to the office at Sipajhar on the 24th of July, 2019. They were handcuffed, arrested and sent to Tezpur Detention Centre where they continue to be. The younger of the two, Sahijuddin, is frequently ill.

Shukhitan lives with her two daughters-in-law, their children and her youngest son Ataar Rehman, who is now the sole bread-winner of the household. He works as farm labour, earning Rs. 200-250 a day, whenever there is work to be had. The entire family depends on this uncertain meagre wage. They have already had to sell their cow and still have a debt of over Rs. 50,000, which they are unable to pay off.

Shukhitan’s husband, Nazimmudin died in 2017. While their two sons are in a detention centre on the grounds that they are foreigners, Nazimmudin’s name, appeared on the final list of the NRC, making him, undoubtedly, an Indian citizen, albeit, after his death.