Protests in North-East India After Muslim Youth Dies in Police Custody


The death of a laborer during police interrogation and the subsequent police firing on protestors resulting in the death of a Muslim man has added fuel to the fire in the already tense state of Assam, in India’s northeast that has initiated a process of weeding out illegal Bengali Muslim immigrants.

New Delhi (Sputnik) — Tension prevails in India’s northeastern state of Assam after violent protests engulfed the town of Dhula, some 100 km away from the state capital Guwahati. A local youth was killed and many others were injured when police opened fire on a huge crowd that was protesting the alleged death of a Muslim laborer in police custody.

The family of Hasan Ali claims that a group of policemen came to their house and took him away on the suspicion of possessing illegal weapons. “They took Hasan to the police station where he was brutally tortured and he died during interrogation,” a family member told the media.

Meanwhile, one of the protestors, Moidul Islam, was killed when cops opened fire on a mob pelting stones on the Dhula police station.

Sounds of incessant firing, a verbal duel between the protestors and police, and loud cries of those injured, have been captured in a video of the site, where thousands of laborers were protesting against the deaths.

While the local administration has clamped an indefinite curfew on the entire town, a high-level inquiry has been ordered by the state chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal.

The deaths have stirred the sentiments of the already enraged Bengali speaking Muslim population of the state; which has been alleging discrimination by the BJP-led government that has initiated the National Registry of Citizenship (NRC) that seeks to identify and deport Bangladeshi Muslims who have been illegally living in India after 1971. Many Bengali Muslims say that their families have been living in Assam since before 1971, but do not possess documents to ascertain their claims. They see the NRC as a ploy to weed out Muslims from the area.