Assam Police shot dead 12-year-old returning from Aadhaar centre! Sheikh Farid’s parents are still in shock, his brother spoke to CJP

27, Sep 2021 | CJP Team

One of the most gut-wrenching images from the September 23 police firing on evicted families in Assam, was that of an unconscious young boy with a blood-soaked shirt. That young boy was 12-year-old Sheikh Farid who succumbed to a hail of bullets fired by the Assam Police. It is now learnt that he was only there, as he was on his way back from an Aadhaar centre.

“He had gone to the Dhalpur Aadhaar centre. He was on his way back when the police shot him dead,” says Amir Hussain, brother of Sheikh Farid.

The boy, a resident of Kirakara village of the Dhalpur region, was one of the two people shot dead by Assam Police personnel who opened fire on people protesting eviction from Gorukhuti village that falls in the Sipajhar circle of Darrang District of Assam.

Every day of each week, a formidable team of community volunteers, district volunteer motivators and lawyers—CJP’s Team Assam – is providing ready at hand paralegal guidance, counselling and actual legal aid to hundreds of individuals and families paralysed by the citizenship-driven humanitarian crisis in the state. Our boots on the ground approach has ensured that 12,00,000 persons filled their forms to enlist in the NRC (2017-2019) and over the past one year alone we have helped release 41 persons from Assam’s dreaded detention camps. Our intrepid team provides paralegal assistance to, on an average of 72-96 families each month. Our district-level, legal team works on 25 Foreigner Tribunal cases month on month. This ground level data ensures informed interventions by CJP in our Constitutional Courts, the Guwahati High Court and the Supreme Court. Such work is possible because of you, individuals all over India, who believe in this work. Our maxim, Equal Rights for All.  #HelpCJPHelpAssam. Donate NOW!

“We didn’t even know that he had been shot until the Facebook video began circulating,” recalls Hussain, adding, “After that, the entire family has been in shock.” Sheikh Farid’s parents, Khalek Ali and Golbhanu, have not been able to utter a single word since the day their son died! “What can they say? Their hearts are broken,” says Hussain.

The evictions, demolitions of the modest huts of deeply impoverished families and the eventual violent crackdown by the police, are all being seen by rights groups and civil society as a form of ethnic cleansing. Almost all families left homeless amidst a raging Covid-19 pandemic and the punishing monsoon season in this flood-prone riverine region of Assam, hail from the Bengali-speaking Muslim minority community.

CJP, has been working on the ground in Assam since 2017, to help our fellow Indians of all faiths navigate the complex citizenship crisis, so that nobody is victimised, especially on account of socio-economic backwardness. During our work, we have discovered how Bengali-speaking minorities are the most vulnerable as many are dubbed “Bangladeshi” or “foreigner” by a xenophobic regime.

Bengali-speaking Muslims stand at the intersection of two persecuted groups and are thus targeted with impunity by a regime that gains strength by fostering division instead of unity. Which is why, the forced removal of Bengali Muslims from a place where their families have lived for 40-50 years, seems motivated. But is someone who shoots a child dead, merely motivated, or full of hate and drunk on power?


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