Testimony Of
Tamizah Begum and Mannan Ali

A young boy, Mannan Ali, had accompanied his mother to meet us. He spoke about his father, Idul Ali who used to be in the police force at Sivasagar. After his father lost his job, his parents separated and Idul Ali kept all the documents. It was only after his father’s death that Mannan asked about them and realised no one knew where they were, so for all practical purposes they were lost.

Mannan’s mother, Tamizah Begum, daughter of Khairullah Ali, resident of Nepali Basti, Sivasagar, has two sons and two daughters. Her name appeared in the NRC but her children’s names – Lipi Begum, Sajida Begum, Mannan Ali and Hannan Ali – had been left out. They were advised by people in the community to prove legacy from their father’s side even though their mother’s legacy was solid and proven.

Mannan had tried to establish a link with their paternal grandfather. But he did not have his name in the necessary legacy documents. So, they finally submitted legacy documents in the name of Dhonte Ali, their father’s oldest uncle, documents to link him to their father and their father to them. They had no idea if it would work.

Tamizah Begum had to go for four hearings and all her children had to go for three each. The children had to go to Sivasagar once and Amgudi twice, and were interviewed by different sets of officers. Their entire extended family including Dhonte Ali’s only living child, Mannan’s uncle and his family had also come for the hearings but even their testimonies confirming that Mannan and his siblings were Dhonte Ali’s grand nephews and nieces did not help. Dhonte Ali’s son has used his own father’s legacy and has made it to the NRC.

They are now hoping that they are able to establish legacy through their mother, Tamizah Begum. Even though she made it to the NRC, Tamizah Begum is worried for her children. “How can I be happy when my children didn’t make it? What if they get sent away? Then I will choose to go with them too. Who else do I have?”