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'Unauthorized' persons checking citizenship in Assam, 'lynching' minority women, men

Counterview Desk
In a dangerous turn of events in Assam, reported by well-known human rights organisation, Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), indigenous Assamese Muslims are being "attacked" at the sites where National Register for Citizens (NRC) hearings are taking place. In a detailed note, CJP says, men are being attacked with hammers, while women are being grabbed and squeezed.
What is particularly shocking, says CJP, is that "unauthorized" persons are checking whether documents being brought in by those coming to represent at NRC hearing centres are in order. CJP, which is headed by Mumbai-based human rights leader Teesta Setalvad, claims, it is "gearing up to meet the situation with the help of its team of lawyers and volunteers", as it did during the 2002 Gujarat riots.

Text of the note:

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. The Citizens for Justice and Peace (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.
Rahman's 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.
Help came in the form of a volunteer from 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.
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 has 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.

Comments

DP said…
Rather simplistic. The issue of NRC and attacks on alleged Bangladeshis are not restricted to religious minorities alone. The region has a history of xenophobia adequately fomented by the previous regimes and things as they stand today are natural outcome.
NRC ASSAM said…
In this article an attempt has been made to link an event of tiff/ quarrel between some people coming for NRC hearing with a shop keeper outside the NRC venue emanating from the issue of parking of a vehicle, with the proceedings of NRC Update. An official enquiry was conducted on this matter and the en-suite report reveals that in the afternoon of 29 May 2019 in front of a shop near an NRC hearings venue, an altercation happened between a vehicle driver and a shopkeeper regarding parking of vehicle in front of his shop. This incident has no relation with NRC hearing. As the article didn’t elaborate on the matter of NRC document being checked by unauthorised persons, no comment can be made beyond the fact that NRC hearings are held only by Officers notified for such purpose working under lawful provisions.
We stand by our story and in response to this tweet, we have the following points that showcase the facts of the case:
First, it wasn’t a “tiff/quarrel” as alleged by the NRC authorities, but a brutal attack with weapons that left Mokibur Rehman of Barigaon village with severe head injuries. The weapons used on him can be seen in this video. These include a hammer, a hammer head and a large metal spike.
Secondly, the person attacked wasn’t the driver of the vehicle as claimed by the NRC authorities, but Mokibur Rehman, the man who had arrived for the hearing with his family in the car.
We have clearly mentioned in our story that the family was attacked just outside the center where hearings were being conducted. But as is made clear by our video, though the incident took place just outside the hearing center it was in the premises of the Kapili Development Block compound. The unconscious victim can be seen lying at the end of one of the corridors in the compound in the above video. The short video is a close up of the blue board that reads “Extension Training cum Resource Center, Kapali Development Block”.
As far as the attempt to link the attack with proceedings of NRC updates goes, we once again stand by our story that the family that was attacked was there to attend a NRC claims and objections hearing. The assailants, as we have clearly mentioned were not NRC officials, but miscreants who demanded the family’s NRC documents. When the family resisted, the miscreants attacked them violently. The blood stains on the white cloth used to wrap the victim’s head show exactly how vicious the attack was. So even though NRC officials did not attack the family (and we haven’t claimed that in our story either), the fact that this took place because the family was there for the hearings, and that the attackers demanded NRC documents, is enough to establish that the attack took place because the family was there for an NRC hearing. The link therefore cannot be disputed.

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