On Monday, a delegation of Students Islamic Organisation of India (SIO) led by Salman Ahmad, national president of the students’ body, met with the families of 32-year-old Moinul Haque and 12-year-old Shaikh Farid, who were killed by Assam police, offering them condolence and solidarity.
The organisation also announced that it will sponsor the entire education of Moinul Haque’s three children.
“It will be an honor for us to bear the expenses of the education of all three of the children. We want them to study in their area of interest as much as they want. We requested their family to let us sponsor their education, which was accepted by them. We pray for a better life and prosperity for them and punishment for those who made them suffer,” said Salman Ahmad.
Haque was the sole breadwinner of his family. He is survived by his parents, wife, and three children – two sons Muqassidul and Muqaddas Ali, and daughter Manzoora Begum.
Ahmad and other leaders of the group were visiting Sipajhar village where around 800 families were forcefully evicted from their homes by the administration. The group spoke with the families, who narrated their ordeal.
“The area where the families are currently living is a flood-prone riverine island with no access by road. They are housed in temporary shelters of tin sheds. They are in dire need of basic facilities such as water, food and medicines. The government should immediately provide them with necessary relief,” adds Ahmad.
Salman Ahmad was also a part of delegation led by leaders of Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind (JUH) and Jamaat-e-Islami (JIH), who met Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Monday in connection with the incidents of forced evictions and police killings of two Bengali Muslims in Darrang.
Beaten to death on camera
The video of a photographer hired by district administration Bijoy Banya stomping and attacking the body of Haque shot by the Assam police has gone viral across the country, triggering uproar and protests.
In the video, Haque is seen running with a stick towards a group of policemen in riot gear, holding firearms, in Sipajhar village on Thursday. The photographer is also seen with the policemen, who immediately open fire on the charging man.
As soon as Haque falls to the ground after being shot, nearly a dozen policemen continue to attack him with batons. As the wounded Haque, lies on the ground – a red stain on his vest marking the area where he was shot – Bania approaches the body and begins to stomp on it. The photographer, his face covered and a camera slung around his neck, also punches and kicks the body. Seconds later, Bania, the official cameraman returns to repeat his attack. This time, Haque’s body appears to be lifeless. Towards the end of the 72-second video, Bania is seen being hugged by a person in civilian clothes present at the spot. Bania was arrested late on Thursday.
Maqbool Ali, father of Haque, who saw the viral video of his son dying in police firing with a photographer trampling on his body, said to reporters: “When I heard the photographer was arrested, I was a little relieved but the pain will not go away.”
A day after the Assam government’s forced eviction of hundreds of Bengali Muslim families from their homes accusing them of illegally occupying government land and police violence towards demonstration against eviction which killed two and injured several people, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma justified the police action and said that “the anti-encroachment was not done overnight and discussions were on for four months.”
When asked about the viral video in which a photographer Bijoy Banya hired by the government authorities and a cop were seen brutally killing Moinul Hoque, Assam CM said, “You cannot demean state govt with one video.”
“Yes, I condemn what the cameraman did (stomping on the 32-year-old as he lay injured), but that is just 30 seconds of the entire episode. But what is going on for four months?” he adds.