More than 40 civil society members write to Assam CM, demand support for Ahmed’s family

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More than 40 journalists and members of the civil society have written a joint letter to Assam chief minister, Sarbananda Sonowal, expressing their disgust on the gruesome murder of All Bodo Minority Students Union leader, Lafiqul Islam Ahmed.

civil society assam

The letter said that Ahmed was ‘a progressive youth leader who raised several concerns within the Bengal-origin Muslim community such as child marriage, polygamy, dowry and domestic violence.’

“Ahmed’s murder leaves a big void in minority leadership in Assam, and void in the effort of all those, who, cutting across markers of identities, were working for peace and amity in the region. It will certainly take the minority community some time to heal from this tragedy. Meanwhile, we appreciate the Assam government’s swift action in the matter. We also understand that monetary compensation alone is not sufficient, (sic)” the they said.

They said that Sonowal’s decision to refer the matter to the CBI was a commendable act but they urged the chief minister to also consider providing long-term financial support to Ahmed’s family.

The letter said, “We request the Honourable Chief Minister of Assam, Shri Sarbananda Sonowal to consider providing long-term support to Ahmed’s family. The government could do this by securing Ahmed’s younger brother with a permanent employment opportunity. This would go a long way not only in showing political goodwill, but also in establishing a sense of social justice.”

Ahmed was shot dead in Assam on 1 August by unidentified assailants in Assams Kokrajhar district, police said. Two motorcycle-borne assailants opened fire from an AK-47 rifle at Ahmed while he had gone to buy tiles at a shop in Titaguri Market, killing him on the spot and seriously injuring the shopkeeper, Superintendent of Police Rajen Singh said.

In a conflict-ridden region like BTAD, Lafiqul Islam Ahmed’s activism touched so many hearts. Ahmed was shot dead by unidentified assailants on August 1. But his death has brought together people from various communities. The show of solidarity, and the peaceful protest following his assassination is indeed noteworthy.

For the Bengal-origin Muslim community in Assam that is still struggling with socio-economic issues, such as river erosion induced displacement and widescale poverty, Ahmed’s death is a significant loss. Ahmed was a progressive youth leader who raised several concerns within the Bengal-origin Muslim community such as child marriage, polygamy, dowry and domestic violence. He also highlighted the need for girls’ education, and even created a women’s wing of the All BTC Minority Students Union (ABMSU), where he served as its President till his death.

Ahmed’s murder leaves a big void in minority leadership in Assam, and void in the effort of all those, who, cutting across markers of identities, were working for peace and amity in the region. It will certainly take the minority community some time to heal from this tragedy. Meanwhile, we appreciate the Assam government’s swift action in the matter. We also understand that monetary compensation alone is not sufficient.

We request the Honourable Chief Minister of Assam, Shri Sarbananda Sonowal to consider providing long-term support to Ahmed’s family. The government could do this by securing Ahmed’s younger brother with a permanent employment opportunity. This would go a long way not only in showing political goodwill, but also in establishing a sense of social justice.

The Chief Minister’s move to write to the centre for a CBI probe while constituting a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to look into the matter is indeed appreciable. We would urge him to follow up with the centre so that the CBI can take over the case as soon as possible.

In the last couple of days, Ahmed’s parents and siblings have been through the worst tragedy of their lives. It is our sincere plea to the media to respect their sense of privacy, and to avoid any kind of misreporting that might negatively affect the family.

Yours Sincerely,

Indrani Raimedhi, Features Editor, The Assam Tribune
Monirul Hussain, Former HOD, Department of Political Science, Gauhati University
Miguel Das Queah, Child Rights Activist
Kenny Basumatary, Actor and Filmmaker
Kishalay Bhattacharjee, Journalist and Author, Associate Professor of Journalism at OP Jindal University
Kaustubh Deka, Assistant Professor, Centre for Northeast Studies and Policy Research, Jamia Millia Islamia
Patricia Mukhim, Editor, The Shillong Times
Nasreen Habib, Editor, Eclectic Northeast
Anuraag Baruah, Editor, Time8
Bedabrat Bora, Managing Editor, Assam Talks
Mahbabul Haque, Founder and VC, USTM
Haidar Hussain, Ex-Editor, Axomiya Pratidin
Utpal Borpujari, Film Critic
Raju Narzary, Director, NERSWN
Brojo Basumatary, Project Officer, Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and Environment
Nitoo Das, Poet and HOD, Department of English, IP College, University of Delhi
Uddipana Goswami, Writer
Dhurjjati Sarma, Assistant Professor, Department of Modern Indian Languages, Gauhati University
Bidhayak Das, Senior Journalist
Mrinal Talukdar, Senior Journalist
Sangeeta Barooah Pisharoty, Deputy Editor, The Wire
Jarjum Ete, Social Activist, Arunachal Pradesh
Dr. Dilip Borah, HOD, Department of Modern Indian Languages, Gauhati University
Anuradha Sarma, Assistant Professor, Department of Modern Indian Languages, Gauhati University
Dr. Sarim Rahman Razdan, Assistant Professor, TISS Guwahti
Kishor Kumar Kalita, Author and Lawyer, Guwahati
Binita Hazarika, Legal Fellow, South Asia Women’s Fund
Rahul Devnath, Film Maker, Goalpara
Mustafa Ahmed Barbhuiya, Post Doctoral Fellow at John Hopkins University, USA
Kansai Brahma, Justice Fellow, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai
Reema Borah, Film Maker
Sanskrita Bharadwaj, Journalist
Dr. Hafiz Ahmed, President Char Chapori Sahitya Parishad
Dr. Aparajita Sarma, Guwahati
Mukut Lochan Kalita, Convenor, RTE Forum Assam
Prafallla Nath, Assistant Professor, Assam University
Rafiul Ahmed, Assistant Professor, University of Sikkim
Maharishi Sharma, Corporate Lawyer, Thompson Reuters
Dr. Navanil Barua, Director, Neurosurgery, GNRC Dispur
Shalini Sarma, Chairperson, Centre for Ecology, Environment and Sustainable Development, TISS Guwahati
Jeetumoni Basumatary, Assistant Professor, Department of English, Cotton University
Krantik, Musician
Dwijendra Narayan Sarma, Founder Prerona Library, Nalbari
Rajiv Sutradhar, OKD

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