An alleged blunder by Assam’s border police has caused a woman named Madhubala spend more than three years in a detention camp for foreigners, in place of the Madhumala who should have been put away.Madhubala Mandal, 59, has been languishing in the Kokrajhar detention centre in western Assam since the police picked her up in 2016 on charges of being a foreigner.People of her village — No. 1 Bishnupur in Chirang district — said she has been suffering because the police had erred in not picking up fellow villager Madhumala Das, whom they had come for.The Foreigners’ Tribunal (FT) concerned had on March 5, 2016 issued a notice to Ms. Madhumala, wife of Makhan Nomo Das, on the basis of a report of the border police that had doubted her citizenship in August 2008. She was asked to appear before the FT on April 4 that year and prove her citizenship with documentary evidence.But the police picked up Madhubala Mandal a few days later. Case taken up afresh“We have taken up the case afresh after changing the lawyer who did nothing to save Madhubala. Besides, her husband is not alive and their hearing and speech-impaired daughter did not have the resources to pursue the case,” Ajoy Roy, working president of political party Bharatiya Gana Parishad, told The Hindu from Bijni town in Chirang district.The outcry over the case of ex-serviceman Mohammed Sanaullah, who was declared a foreigner and sent to the Goalpara detention centre, encouraged them to take up the case of the “mix-up victim”, Mr. Roy said.Madhubala’s sister-in-law Bhasani Mandal said there has never been any case against any member of their family. “I was acquainted with Madhumala Das and can vouch for the mistake the police committed. She and her husband died long ago. Their son, Mantu, too died after being trampled by an elephant,” she said.But the police denied having goofed-up over similar-sounding names of two different women.‘Everything verified’“Everything was verified when she was caught. She was married to one Das when the case was initiated, but married another man when her husband died. The change in surname does not make them two different persons,” Sudhakar Singh, Chirang Superintendent of Police (SP), said.But Mr. Roy said the police were trying to cover up their mistake. “Surnames may change after marriage but given names don’t. Besides, the husband of the woman they wronged is Ramakanta Mandal and not Makhan Das,” he added.