Slain minority student leader: Civil society members write to Assam CM

An Open Letter to Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal

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,

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

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