A peasant activist in Assam, who had also unsuccessfully fought as a candidate of a regional outfit in the last Assembly elections, has been marked as a ‘doubtful’ citizen in the police verification report that was issued during his passport renewal process.
Pranab Doley, a member of the state’s indigenous Mishing community, said that he has been asked to give “proof of his citizenship” in person at the regional passport office in Guwahati. He also said that his name had appeared in the NRC list published on August 31, 2019. Doley, who had contested as an Anchalik Gana Morcha (AGM) nominee against Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) president and state cabinet minister Atul Bora from Bokakhat constituency in this year’s state polls, was on Monday served a notice by the passport office.
Anchalik Gana Morcha was a part of the Congress-led ‘Grand Alliance’ in the state.
A senior leader of Jeepal Krishak Sramik Sangha — one of the prominent peasant organisations in Golaghat — Doley claimed it was a “tactic to silence him” as he often spoke out against the BJP-led government.
“This is because I have been very critical and vocal (against the government). I have been a mass leader fighting for democratic rights… I am being targeted as I fought the elections, gave them the toughest fight,” he claimed. The peasant leader had finished second in Bokakhat constituency, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi had campaigned for Bora during the run-up to the polls.
According to the letter sent by the passport office to Doley, his “nationality is doubtful as per a police verification report”. Doley said he had applied for renewal of his passport on April 7.
Golaghat SP Sumeet Sharma, when approached, said he was not aware of the details of the case. “I will have to check the details. I don’t have the information pertaining to the Pranab Doley case with me right now,” he stated.
The issue has evoked sharp reactions from opposition parties in the state.
AIUDF legislator Ashraful Hussain alleged that “government machinery was being used” to harass Doley. “This is blatant misuse of Govt. machinery to harass someone like @PranabDoley19 who have been fighting to safeguard our constitutional values and for the rights of the indigenous farmers,” Hussain tweeted.
Assam Pradesh Congress Committee chief spokesperson Bobbeeta Sharma also took to the microblogging platform to condemn the matter. “How can a person with the title ‘Doley’ be of doubtful citizenship? He is from the Ethnic Mishing community. He is a Bhumiputra! Nothing can be more outrageous than this!” she noted. Mishing is an indigenous community of the state with about seven lakh population, as per 2011 Census. (PTI)