Saturday, August 13th, 2022 14:09:22

Insult Of Soldier  In Name Of Law  Is Most Disgraceful

By Sanjeev Sirohi
Updated: June 22, 2019 4:39 pm

It is most shocking, most degrading  most disgraceful and most disheartening to learn that a retired soldier of Indian Army and decorated Kargil war veteran  Mohammad Sanaullah who gave his cream years for this nation has been in a detention centre after a foreigners tribunal in Assam declared him a foreigner on May 28. How can any nation allow a soldier to be ill-treated in his very own country by his own countrymen? How can any law justify it? This is most dangerous for our nation and under no circumstances an ever be justified!

Let me reiterate once again what I have always believed strongly: No law, no court not even Supreme Court, no Judge not even Chief Justice of India, no Constitution and no other legal procedure can be above the unity and integrity of our nation! Who ensures that India remains united? It is our brave soldiers and if soldiers are treated in such a shabbily manner as we see in case of war veteran Mohammad Sanaullah then even God can’t help such nation because it is our soldiers who brave bullets of enemy soldiers to defend our motherland and it is not God who braves bullets or scarifies his life for our nation!

I am most horrified to learn that in his own country this brave soldier who served for more than 30 years in Indian Army is most mercilessly thrown in detention centre even as no action is taken against stone pelters in Kashmir who wave ISIS flags, burn Indian flags, chant pro-Pakistani slogans and what not yet they are pardoned as we saw when Mehbooba Mufti was in power and about 10,000 stone pelters were pardoned and criminal cases were withdrawn against them but a law abiding and committed soldier like Mohammad Sanaullah is openly insulted and thrown in a detention centre and yet this thankless nation watches all this in deafening silence! Shame on all of us who are Indians and who proudly claim to be so but do nothing for brave soldiers like Mohammad Sanaullah! We keep chanting shamelessly, “Centre will take care”!

This BJP led NDA government led by PM Narendra Damodardas Modi came to power on slogan of national security and most of the Indians including me stood behind them like a rock! But if soldiers are openly insulted as we see in the case of Mohammad Sanaullah then why do they keep quiet? If this keeps happening who will again vote for them? Why do they take no action to ensure that a soldier is treated in the manner in which he deserves to be? Why are they watching everything like a silent spectator?

I have no affiliation with any political party even though this time I voted for BJP for having avenged the dastardly Pulwama terror attack in which we lost more than 40 soldiers! But I am now completely aghast to see how under this BJP led NDA government is displaying complete nonchalance over how an Army officer who even fought in Kargil war is being shamed, harassed, harangued and humiliated most shamelessly in his own country for no fault of his! A soldier who has given his prime years in Indian Army deserve to be treated with utmost respect even if he is not an Indian!

But we Indians do seem to ignore this most conveniently! We allow stone pelters and terrorist supporters to rule in Kashmir Valley on roads and don’t ever throw them in detention centres but very quickly throw an Army officer on the pretext of his being a foreigner! We readily accord citizenship to Pakistani singer Adnan Sami who did not serve Indian Army for a single day or even a single second but we proudly throw an Indian soldier behind detention centre treating him as a foreigner even after he gave his prime years for this country! Shame on us! Shame on our government!

I do, however, fully welcome Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi’s most serious concern for this brave soldier who is being humiliated in his own country by his own countrymen! Gaurav Gogoi expressed concern over the detention of a former Army man as a foreigner and sought Home Minister Amit Shah’s intervention to get him relief. In a letter to Amit Shah, Gaurav Gogoi said retired Subedar and decorated Kargil war veteran Mohammad Sanaullah has been in a detention centre after a foreigners tribunal in Assam declared him a foreigner on May 28. He said that, “I sincerely want relief for former Army officer Mohammad Sanaullah.”

It is heartening to learn that three separate FIRs have been lodged against a retired policeman, who had verified the documents and recorded the statement of Mohammad Sanaullah who is a former Army officer but yet was declared a “foreigner” and lodged in a detention centre in Assam. The complaints were filed against retired sub-inspector Chandramal Das of the Assam Border Police at the Boko police station by three persons, whose names appeared as witnesses in Sanaullah’s statement. Mohammad Kuran Ali, Suwahan Ali and Ajmal Ali alleged in the FIRs that Das, who was investigating the Sanaullah’s case did not call them for giving any statement or sign on any document as witnesses, said officer-in-charge of Boko police station Jogen Barman. He said that the three claimed that they were made witnesses to Sanaullah’s statement from the social media. He also said that we registered three cases against Das under various Sections of the IPC! Very rightly so!

Be it noted,  Mohammad Sanaullah had retired as a Subedar with the Corps of Electronics and Mehanical Engineers (EME) of the Indian Army in August 2017, after serving in insurgency-affected areas of Jammu-Kashmir and the Northeast. He had joined the Army on May 21, 1987 and in 2014 was awarded the President’s Certificate. What an unbeatable irony that after more than 30 years of service we see that an Indian Army officer like Mohammad Sanaullah is treated so shabbily worse than even a Prisoner of War! Post retirement, he had joined the Border wing of the Assam police as a sub-inspector in Kamrup (rural) district after qualifying the requisite tests! All this notwithstanding, see the reward which this nation has given him! Is this the way our soldiers and officers of Indian Army are treated?

Sanaullah’s lawyer Aman Wadud said that when the Foreigners Tribunal heard the case, the retired Army personnel was deployed in Manipur and had not given any statement in court. Wadud said that, “There was no investigation before accusing Sanaullah of being a ‘foreigner’. The border police prepared the verification report without even meeting him – in the report, the police said he is a labourer. The Foreigners Tribunal very mechanically declared him a foreigner without appreciating all his documents.” The Kargil war veteran’s family members have decided to file a case in the Gauhati High Court against the Assam Border Police and Das for allegedly conspiring to declare Sanaullah as a “foreigner”. The case will certainly reach its logical conclusion and the truth will definitely come out!

But the damage has already been done! Who will compensate for the humiliation and harassment which he has suffered in his own country? No monetary compensation can ever compensate the brave soldier Mohammad Sanaullah or his family who have been subjected to worst form of humiliation and yet we see that even the Army has clearly failed to hold his hand in the most decisive manner! One hopes that some belated action would now certainly be taken by the Army!

Mohammad Sanaullah was declared a foreigner by Foreigners Tribunal (FT) No. 2 Kamrup (Rural) on May 23 this year. His family members and lawyers maintain that Sanaullah’s Indian citizenship can be proved easily with the documents of his ancestors and of that of his employment with the Indian Army. Sanaullah himself at present works with Assam Police’s border wing which is a special wing that deals with detection of illegal migrants residing in the state. But see the crowning irony that he himself has been detained and declared a foreigner!

Confirming that Sanaullah has been detained, Additional SP of Kamrup, Sanjib Saikia tolds media that, “The FT declared him a foreigner and we are complying with the law.” No one can question the law being applied! But definitely when it comes to our brave soldiers it must be ensured that they are not wrongly at the receiving end for no fault of theirs as we see in this case! Sanaullah was kept in police custody in North Guwahati after being detained and was then moved to the detention centre in Kokrajhar.

The first point mentioned by the FT order – by Tribunal member Pompa Chakravarty states that Sanaullah submitted that he had joined service in 1978 and questions that if he was born in 1967, how he got the job at 11 years. The order also asks if he had joined service in 1987 then why his name was not enrolled in the voters list of 1986, since he had by then attained the age of 20 years. Lawyer Sahidul Islam said, “In his written affidavit he stated that he joined the Army in 1987 [actual year of joining]. Orally, during cross-examination, also he said 1987 – but it was recorded wrongly as 1978 by court officials. We could not oppose it then because his signature was taken on a blank paper on which his testimony was later printed.” How can all this be overlooked?

Let me reiterate once again: No law can be above our brave soldiers! Insult of soldiers in the name of law is not only most disgraceful but can never be good for the unity and integrity of our nation! Why law is not enforced strictly in the case of Kashmiri stone pelters who regularly pelt stones on our brave soldiers and yet are pardoned at the drop of a hat? Why are stone pelters not thrown in detention centres rather are allowed to regularly first assemble in large numbers and then start throwing stones on our brave soldiers due to which some have even died in the past? Should we be proud of this? Should we salute Centre for this?

Why was it overlooked that Mohammad Sanaullah had actually and not just on papers served for 30 years in Indian Army as a soldier and as a officer? Why was it overlooked that he was a soldier who participated bravely in Kargil war? Why was it overlooked that he even won awards for his distinguished service? Why was it overlooked that he was even awarded the President’s Certificate? Why was it also overlooked that he served not just in Army but also after retirement he joined the Border wing of the Assam state police?

It is high time and now the time is ripe to make some changes in our law. Those soldiers and officers who serve in Indian Army for even a single day must be treated with due honour and not the other way around as we see most unfortunately in the case of Mohammad Sanaullah! Under no circumstances should ever a retired soldier or officer be ever thrown in detention centre!

It is stone pelters who must be thrown in detention centres but Centre till now has desisted from ever doing so and that is why we see that how fearlessly they regularly pelt stones on our brave soldiers and slap them and their helmet is thrown in gutter! This must stop now if we really want our nation to progress and prosper! Why is law not applied strictly on them also? Why stone pelting not treated as act of war? Why law is wrongly and most mercilessly applied on our brave soldiers like Mohammad Sanaullah but stone pelters are promptly granted amnesty who attack our soldiers? Which self-respecting nation will ever behave most foolishly like this? Should we again be now proud of it?

By Sanjeev Sirohi  

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