Three Assamese Muslims Burnt Alive in Meghalaya, CM Appeals for Calm

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The charred bodies of the victims were buried in the makeshift grave in a jungle.

Waquar Hasan | Clarion India

NEW DELHI — Shock and outrage swept through Assam following the brutal killing of three Muslim youths — Jamal Ali, Noor Mohammad, and Zahidul Islam. All three were burnt alive in their car as they were on their way to Meghalaya from Golpara district in their native state.

The killings on April 17 in the East Garo Hills district have sparked condemnation with demands for swift justice echoing across the state.

The charred bodies of the victims were buried in the makeshift grave in a jungle.

Ashik Rabbani, a student leader raising the issue with the government, told Clarion India over the phone on Friday that the victims were small traders heading for Meghalaya for some work. “On the way, they were stopped by some people and attacked. Then, they were killed and the car was completely burnt,” said Rabbani, president of the Muslim Student Union of Assam (MSUA).

A day after the incident, the MSUA wrote a letter to Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma demanding a CBI probe into the triple murder and compensation for the family members of the victims.

Rabbani said a MSUA delegation met with the Meghalaya police officials on the issue. He said the police alleged that the victims were involved in cattle slaughter. “If they were involved in cattle slaughter, what was the police doing in this regard,” he asked.

“People from the minorities-dominated areas hit by the floods in Assam go to Meghalaya and Nagaland for work. Local people from the area extort money from them. They also beat them on minor issues. This has been going on for years. This is not a new thing. The governments in Meghalaya and Nagaland don’t take strict action against the perpetrators,” said Rabbani.

He said that the reason behind the killing is not yet clear as no arrests have yet been made in the case. He added that no extremist or militant outfit has claimed responsibility for the gruesome incident.

In a statement issued on 17 April, S.A. Rynjah, SP of East Garo Hills district, said prima facie, it appears to be a case of criminal rivalry among car lifters and groups of cattle thieves.

He said that Zahidul Islam is reported to be involved in car lifting while Jamal Ali is reported to be involved in cattle theft.

The police said that on 15 April, the trio left their home for Meghalaya as they were hired by some unknown person for some important work in the state. The next day, the family members received a call from Jamal Ali that they were having breakfast in a jungle area somewhere in Garo Hills. Hours after, their mobile set was switched off.

Condemning the incident, Meghalaya CM Sangma described it as a “stark reminder of the brutality that can shake our communities”.

“First and foremost, I vehemently condemn this heinous act of violence. Such actions have no place in our society and stand as a grave violation of our shared humanity. In this time of sorrow and uncertainty, it is imperative that we come together as compassionate individuals and communities to offer support and solace to those affected by this senseless tragedy,” he said.

He urged the people from both states to refrain from resorting to vigilante justice or any form of retaliation. “Let us not allow the seeds of discord and animosity to take root in our hearts. I urge you to resist the temptations of those who seek to exploit this tragedy for their own nefarious agendas, whether through communal incitement or spreading of misinformation,” the statement said.

Sangma said authorities in his state have already taken swift action by initiating a thorough investigation into the matter. “Rest assured, every effort is being made to bring the perpetrators of this crime to justice. However, it is equally crucial to uphold the principles of peace, justice, and rule of law as pillars of our society,” he said.

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