'Street Lights Were Shut When Police Opened Fire': Tale Of 4 Killings During Anti-CAA Protests In Assam
Since the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests sparked off in the Northeast, five people have been killed in the state of Assam due to police firing, 175 have been arrested and more than 1400 have been detained.
On 12th December, the armed forces were sent in to quell the dissent with state-sanctioned firing. Sams Stafford, a 17-year old musician was hit by a bullet on his face as the police began firing at the protestors’ site at point-blank range. He was returning from a demonstration at Latasil Field, Guwhati, where more than 2000 people had gathered to protest against the Act.
On his way back home, after the protest was over, Sams was killed in the security forces firing, who reportedly shut down the street lights and opened fire at everyone in sight regardless of whether they were a part of the protest or not. “One couldn’t differentiate if it was a protester, a bystander or someone just out to buy groceries,” said one of the witnesses from the protest, who wished to be anonymous.
Abdul Amin, a 23-year-old All Assam Students’ Union member also succumbed to injuries after a bullet hit in his stomach, TheWire reported. Ibrahim Khalil, Amin’s uncle came to pick his body from Guwahati Medical College. He informed that his nephew had been an All Assam Students’ Union member – like most students in the state.
The same day, Ishwar Nayak, 25, who was returning to home after he participated in the Latasil Field demonstration was killed. His friend Boro, who was walking alongside him told the media, “He said that he was hit by a bullet on his waist. I thought like he was joking because he was a funny guy. But then I saw the blood.” Nayak’s body was taken to Guwahati Medical Hospital where he was pronounced dead. His body was later taken to his native town of Udalguri in Assam.
Dipanjal Das, a 19-year-old Army-canteen cook succumbed to his bullet-inflicted wounds at Lachit Nagar. Das was on his way back from work when a police bullet hit his abdomen. He was rushed to Guwahati Medical College but died on the way before he could get any medical help.
Regional newspapers called Das as the “first martyr” (shaheed) of the movement against the Citizenship Amendment Act.
Azizul Hoque, a 45-year-old fuel truck driver, also succumbed to his injuries after his truck was burnt by miscreants. “Azizul was warned by his relatives not to venture out with a fuel truck, as the protests were peaking in Mangaldoi and Darrang district. Azizul, however, stepped out and some miscreants burning tyres for a roadblock burnt his truck near Orang while he was inside it,” said Saddam Hussain, a local student leader.
The police on 15th December defended the firing. The police action came after the NIA inspector general G P Singh was sent to Guwahati take charge. The officer has served in several parts of the Northeast, including Assam, for over 18 years. Singh who is posted as ADG Law and Order said that a fair number of warnings were given to the protestors, but many of them continued to defy the curfew.
“For two days in Guwahati, there were acts of complete lawlessness committed by the miscreants. That was visible to everyone. The police had to use tear gas, cane charge, and stun grenades by thousands”, he said.
“The law is very clear that you have to use all kinds of force at your disposal to prevent loss of life and property,” he added.