On the threshold of adulthood, Saiful Islam, a 21-year-old in Tripura was planning to return to Chennai where he worked as a construction labourer, when he confronted brutal death, leaving his five-month-long married wife behind.
Families of three Muslim men killed in Tripura lynchings say the news came as a shock to them. Three youth, identified as Billai Mia (27), Zayed Hussain (28), and Saiful Islam (21), were branded cattle thieves by a Hindu mob before the trio were brutally beaten up and lynched by the mob on 20 June in Khowai district in Tripura.
Billal, Zayed and Saiful were residents of Sunamura in Sepahijala district.
“My son is not a thief,” says Tajir Islam, grief-stricken father of Saiful Islam. Tajir told Maktoob that Saiful said he was going to Agartala to attend a marriage of his friend’s sister’s brother-in-law. “He had his Aadhar card to book flight tickets to Chennai where he was working as a construction labourer. He returned home a day before Eid, about a month and 10 days ago.”
Saiful’s mother says how merciless the murder has been. “I want justice for my son. How mercilessly have they killed my son, they took everything from me.”
The families of the deceased were not informed of the cause of death until later. Zayed Hussain’s father Abdul Haque said to Maktoob that the incident happened 100 km away from their home.
Zayed’s wife, Rima Aktar received a call and was told that the mishap was a car accident. She was told that he was in a hospital and was declared dead. “We came to know he was killed, being alleged a thief, by a mob much later,” he said.
Zayed Hussain was survived by 21 year old wife Rima and five year old son Irfan Hussain. He was a mini-truck driver. Haque said that his on plied the truck for transporting goods to various places.
Though the incident happened with the police around, no FIR was filed and they later took Suo Motu. Ironically, the police also registered a cattle theft case against the trio.
Following the protests from Opposition parties and rights groups, the cops said they have zeroed in on several suspects and arrests would be made soon. A preliminary investigation has found that 30-40 villagers had gathered to lynch the Muslim men, cops told reporters.
“We don’t know the names of the culprits. The incident happened in the wee hours of Sunday, ” Zayed Hussain’s father Haque said.
Haque also said that Billal Mia, another deceased was a friend of Zayed and he was a frequent visitor in their home.
27 year old Billal Mia was survived by his 24 year old wife Lipi Beegum and 2 year old son Usman Hussain.
‘We want justice for my brother. This kid doesn’t understand anything. How his 2 year old son could survive?” sister of Billal Mia said to Maktoob.
Opposition parties, Muslim organisations and rights groups have condemned the brutal killing of Muslim men and called for police action against culprits.
“It is anti-human, anti-law and anti-civilization. We condemn the incident. I appeal to CM to conduct a high level inquiry and identify the culprits.” Manik Sarkar, the CPIM veteran and Leader of Opposition in Tripura Assembly said.
Youth Congress workers conducted a protest at state police headquarters in Agartala against the lynching and demanded CM Biplab Kumar Deb’s resignation.
Tripura Pradesh Youth Congress Committee president Pujan Biswas said that wherever the BJP is in power, cases of lynching are reported. “Lynching was never be a part of Tripura’s culture. We have seen it in UP under the Yogi Aditya Nath led government and now in Tripura soon after the BJP came to power. Never did we witness such incidents of grisly violence in Tripura. It was imported by the BJP. “
A delegation of Students Islamic Organisation, student wing of Jamaat -e-Islami Hind, visited familes of deceased and demanded justice for them.
With additional reporting by Aiswarya Raj.