31, May 2019 | Zamser Ali
In a shocking incident, an indigenous Muslim man was brutally attacked by a group of people just outside a center where hearings are held as a part of the Claims and Objections process of the National Register of Citizens (NRC). The women in his family were also harassed. CJP quickly stepped in to protect the family and intervened with local authorities to ensure their safety.
The incident took place on May 29 at Kapili Development Block NRC hearing centre in Morigaon District of middle Assam. Mokibur Rahman of Barigoan village, who is said to be in his mid-fifties was allegedly brutally attacked by a group of people. He suffered a severe head injury and is presently under treatment at Morigaon civil hospital. Most shockingly, the entire incident took place in front of police and security personnel who remained silent during the incident.
Over four million people have been left out of the NRC draft, most of them from socio-economically backward communities. Now CJP, drawing from its previous experience in providing legal aid in Gujarat, will step in with a multi-faceted team of lawyers and volunteers to ensure that these people receive a fair chance while filing claims across 18 of the worst affected districts. Your contribution can help cover the costs of a legal team, travel, documentation and technological expenses. Please donate generously here.
Speaking to Sabrang India, his relative Reema Sultana who was also assaulted, said, “On May 29 we were called for NRC hearing at Kapili Development Block, Barpujia. We reached the venue a little early and when we got down from our vehicle, one miscreant of that locality came to me and asked me to show all my documents of citizenship. I denied to show my documents to an unauthorised person who has nothing to do with the NRC authorities. But then he forcibly tried to take away my documents.” She went on to describe how she was assaulted saying, “He and his companion tried to choke me by grabbing and squeezing my neck. They also pressed my chest!”
When her family stepped in to help, they were also attack. “When my brother Mokibur Rahman and other family members came to save me from the group of miscreants, the group attacked us with hammer and other weapons. One of the miscreants hit Mokibur’s head twice with a hammer causing him to fall down with a bleeding injury,” said Sultana. But that’s not all. “The group of miscreants also attacked my other brother Rahmat Ali, sister Elija Begum and nephew Monsur Ali. He were crying for help but no one including the police and security personnel came to save us. The mob gathered the spot started to throw some derogatory remarks against Muslims and threatened to finish us there,” she recalls.
But help came in the form of a volunteer from Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) who rushed to the spot. “He talked to higher authorities and took an initiative to admit my brother to hospital. He also helped us to complete the hearing after so my problems,” says Sultana. It may be mentioned that after receiving the news that some miscreants have attacked a family at NRC hearing centre, the CJP Volunteer Motivator Faruk Ahmed promptly passed the message to state NRC help centre of CJP. Risking his own life, Faruk Ahmed rushed to the spot and called an ambulance to take the injured to hospital.
But that’s not all. The state team of CJP took strongest measures to get the administration to ensure the safety and security of the family and other people who went to the centre for NRC hearings. CJP State Team co-ordinator Zamser Ali sent each and every development in the matter to Prateek Hajela, the state coordinator for NRC. He also spoke to Dr Kula Saikia, DGP, Government of Assam and Superintendent of Police, Morigaon District.
The CJP Assam team have also urged the NRC authority not to organize further hearings at that location, as about 500 local goons gathered the spot and openly threatened the people who came for hearings. “The group of miscreants also pressurized the police not to take any legal actions against the attackers. Some police personnel present in the spot were also encouraging the miscreants” alleged Reema Sultana.
The sad truth of Assam is that insulting and attacking Muslim people has become rather common. Muslim people, especially those of alleged East-Bengal origin, face such discrimination, harassment and oppression after being accused of being Bangladeshi. However, it is probably for the first time, an Indigenous Muslim family was virtually lynched in Assam.