Assam: Two Muslim Brothers Killed Over The Suspicion of Alleged Poaching, Government Faces Criticism

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CNAPA described the killings as a “fake encounter,” as the deceased had gone for fishing, when they were shot dead by forest guards

Team Clarion

NEW DELHI – The state government led by Himanta Biswa Sarma in Assam has come under severe criticism after two Muslim brothers were killed by the forest guards over the mere suspicion of poaching activities.

During the wee hours on 22nd June, two brothers Jaliluddin and Sameeruddin were shot dead by the forest guards when the victims were fishing with other villagers inside Laokhowa Wildlife Sanctuary in Nagaon district.

The deceased, who are residents of Dhingbari Chapari, along with other few villagers, reportedly went to Rowmari Beel wetland to catch fish as part of their traditional livelihood. 

All of them were approaching the embankment area of the lake, when armed forest guards opened fire on them from all sides without any warning. While others ran away from the spot to save their lives, Jaliluddin and Sameeruddin sustained several bullet wounds. Later, the victims were taken to Nagaon Civil Hospital by the forest department, where they were declared brought dead.    

Congress MP from Nagaon Pradyut Bordoloi slammed chief minister Sarma describing the killings as vengeance against the Muslims for voting against Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

“The pattern is the same everywhere ! This regime has started getting back with a vengeance to those communities who did not vote for them. Our PM Saheb @narendramodi and likes of  @himantabiswa should practice #RajDharma and try to rise above their sectarian pursuance,” said Bordoloi.

In a statement, the Community Network Against Protected Areas (CNAPA), which is a coalition of indigenous peoples and forest-dwelling communities, described the killings as a “fake encounter”.

“This incident is a stark reminder of the systemic violence and human rights abuses unleashed against forest-dependent communities across India on the pretext of “conservation.” The killings in Laokhowa reflect a pattern of continuous harassment and forced displacements endured by forest communities nationwide,” reads the statement.  

The group pointed out that these communities, including those in Dhingbari Chapari village, have historically coexisted with wildlife, relying on the forest for their livelihoods and cultural practices. However, they are increasingly criminalized and displaced in the name of conservation, disrupting their lives and eroding their rights. The incident at Laokhowa is not an isolated one. It reflects a broader trend of atrocities and harassment faced by forest-dependent communities across Assam. These communities, who have lived in and sustainably managed forest areas for generations, are being harassed and forcefully evicted in the name of conservation.

“The deaths of Jaliluddin and Sameeruddin underscore the issue of fake encounters orchestrated by the forest department across protected areas in India. Such actions not only violate human rights but also undermine trust in conservation efforts, perpetuating a cycle of fear and resistance among local communities,” said the CNAPA.

It demanded an “independent and impartial investigation” into the killings of Jaliluddin and Sameeruddin and those responsible for these killings be held accountable, and justice be served for the affected families at the earliest. It also urged the The National Human Rights Commission to take suo moto cognizance of the killings.

All Assam Minority Students’ Union (AAMSU) held protests against the killings at several places in the state expressing their outrage and anger against the killings while burning the effigy of Assam’s Forest Minister Chandra Mohan.

The student group also filed a complaint at the Jurial police station in Nagaon district. In the complaint, the AAMSU said that the deceased were intentionally killed by the forest personnel Harish Nath.

Meanwhile, an order issued by the district commissioner entrusted Sudeep Nath, additional district magistrate, Nagaon, to conduct a “detailed inquiry into the matter as per NHRC guidelines to find out the actual facts and circumstance leading to death of the aforesaid persons”.

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