Testimony Of
Zainab and Siddique Ali

Zainab Khatun’s name is on the final NRC list. But her husband, Siddique Ali Habibul’s name is not. Siddique worked in Shillong in the neighbouring state of Meghalaya as a hawker selling clothes. He returned to his village in Barpeta when the NRC was being updated, submitted all the necessary documents, and once his name appeared on the first draft on 31st December 2017, returned to Meghalaya to his work.

On 30th June 2018, the final draft of the NRC was released. Siddique Ali was shocked to learn that his name had been excluded from this list. This time he returned to file his claim, and hasn’t gone back. The trauma of being called a foreigner in his own homeland, and the anxiety of being deported doesn’t allow him to sleep. He hides himself whenever he hears a knock or a stranger's voice. “He has practically stopped eating,” said his wife, Zainab Khatun. “He walks around all night saying, “Galaye dori debo (I want to kill myself)".

They have had to hire a lawyer and pay a fee of Rs. 50,000 to help challenge his wrongful exclusion. Despite this, Siddique Ali’s name remained missing from the final list that was released on 31st August 2019.

Siddique Ali was not home the day we visited. He had gone to the market with their last possession. “He has gone to sell our cow,” Zainab said.