By Nurul Islam Laskar |GUWAHATI
Aman Wadud, a practising lawyer of Gauhati High Court, Assam has been selected for the “2021-2022 Fulbright-Nehru Master’s Fellowship.” He will pursue LLM in the United States next year at an Ivy League Law School. Aman, according to available records, is the first youngster from the North East India to get this Fellowship for post graduate law studies in the United States.
Aman, who prefers to identify himself as a human rights lawyer, mostly defends people accused of being ‘illegal migrants’ and those who are detained in various detention centres of Assam. He represented several detainees and got them released after years of detention. Aman extensively worked during the NRC process; he travelled to various districts of Assam to educate people about NRC. He has also been organising training programmes for lawyers who work before Foreigners Tribunal. He recently co-founded “Justice and Liberty Initiative” to provide pro bono legal aid to those underprivileged people whose citizenship has been wrongly questioned.
In March 2020, Justice and Liberty Initiative petitioned the Supreme Court praying for release of all ‘declared foreigners’ detained in detention centres of Assam. The Hon’ble Supreme Court reduced the detention period from 3 to 2 years and reduced financial bond from Rs one lakh to Rs 5000 – as a result, around 350 detainees have been released from various detention centres till now.
Aman has been extensively campaigning against arbitrary deprivation of nationality and statelessness in various parts of the country. He was granted a scholarship by Melbourne Law School to attend an intensive course on Statelessness at Peter McMullin Centre on Statelessness, Melbourne Law School. Earlier this year he was invited to speak on ‘Citizenship and Statelessness’ at the Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard Law School, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Yale Law School and Columbia Law School, USA. In March 2020, he testified before the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom at Capitol Hill, Washington, on its hearing on Citizenship Laws.
It may be mentioned here that Fulbright Fellowship is extremely prestigious to the extent that so far 69 Fulbright scholars received the Nobel Prize in later life and as many as five emerged as the heads of their countries. Muhammad Yunus, the Bangladeshi social entrepreneur, banker, economist, and civil society leader who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for founding the Grameen Bank and pioneering the concepts of microcredit and microfinance, was also a Fulbright Fellow of 1965.