“They Killed My Son”: Assam Family Mourn Man Beaten To Death On Camera
Two people were killed when an eviction drive in Assam turned violent with clashes between police and protesters.
Dholpur: The man in a vest and lungi who was savagely attacked at Dholpur village in Assam on Thursday – shot, thrashed and stomped upon to death – has been identified at Moinul Haque, a 30-year-old father of three children and caretaker of two elderly parents who made a living – a very meagre living – growing vegetables in a patch of land that government claimed was not his and evicted him.
“They have killed my son,” cried his father, “are we Bangladeshis? Then send us away!”
Moinul Haque’s wife and mother wept inconsolably, as they huddled under a tin shelter at a makeshift relief camp for some 800 families uprooted from their homes since Monday. The children – including two boys of 7 and 2 and a 5-year-old girl – sat nearby, shellshocked. The body of their father has been sent to a hospital in Sipajhar. Locals have refused to accept the bodies until a compensation is declared, sources said.
The police evicted villagers from four areas – Gorukhuti and Dholpur 1, 2 and 3. The gruesome incident – in which Moinul Haque was attacked by a government cameraman filming the eviction operation and the police – took place at Dholpur 3. Eviction notices were given to villagers on Wednesday night and eviction began Thursday morning.
Two mosques were pulled down, according to reports. Some men were seen sitting near a demolished mosque and offering Friday prayers in the afternoon.
No police or government officials were present at the spot at least till 1 pm.
Dholpur 3 is hard to access. One has to travel 100 km to Sipajhar, cross a canal to land at Dholpur 3 and then walk some 4 km to reach the affected village.
Moinul Haque was one of two people killed on Thursday when an anti-encroachment drive in Assam’s Darrang district blew up into a brutal clash between the police and people protesting eviction. Nine policemen were also injured.
The state government has ordered a probe – to be headed by a retired High Court judge – into Thursday’s violence. The cameraman Bijay Bonia who led the fatal attack has also been arrested and has been sent to 14 days’ judicial remand by a local court.
Some 800 families were evicted in the drive against encroachments at Dholpur since Monday. The state wants to repossess 4,500 bighas of government land for an agricultural project. The police said local people attacked them with stones and they had to use force.
There was a dawn-to-dusk bandh called by all Assam Minority Students’ Union (AAMSU) in Darrang district over the attack. AAMSU held protests in several parts of Assam.
The main opposition Congress also held protests in Mangaldai, the Darrang district headquarters. Party leaders including Assam Congress chief Bhupen Borah were allegedly manhandled by government officials and the police.
Monideepa Banerjie & Ratnadip Choudhury | NDTV