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Mob in frenzy turns murderous

 A day will soon come when males will agitate for their rights, demanding an international men’s day and a set of special laws to protect not their honor or human dignity but their life itself.

Most people currentlyare busy talking about India’sdaughter, a documentary film produced by BBC on Delhi’s Nirbhaya rape case and banned by the Indian government, but very few seem to reserve time to talk about India’s son, Syed Farid Khan (also known as Sharifuddin Khan), lynched and killed in the most barbaric manner by a mob of some 5000-7000 in Dimapur, the business centre of Nagaland on March 5, 2015 for all but an alleged rape case.

Twenty eight year old Farid was first framed for rape,claims his wife who is a Sema Naga by descent. “He was dragged, militated and lynched in the most horrific, beastly and utterly barbaric manner and then alleged to bean illegal Bangladeshi migrant by the mob,the Nagaland police administration and most shockingly by the ‘so called’ mainstream media,” she said.

Farid was taken out from the Dimapur Central Jail, beaten, stripped naked, dragged up to 7 kilometers which eventually caused his death, was kept hanging upside down for hours froma clock tower, and innumerable selfies madeof a lifeless Farid and then an attempt to set him on fire made amidstsheer clapping, and uproar when the police foiled the pogrom dispersing the mob with gunshots.

Was Faridactually innocent? We cannot claim anything with certainty. The Indian criminal court is the only right authority to pass a judgment on this in due time. Fromwhatever hard and circumstantial evidences available, it appears to be an extra marital consensual sex affair which went wrong with the girl’s demands not being met. The complainant girlalso aSema Naga by descent and Farid were in a relationship for years. Both families and friends knew them well.Farid’swife is also aSemaNaga and they have a 3 year old daughter from their marriage. His wife and the complainant girl, some claim, are cousins.  

However, he was a co-accused in a rape charge, a very serious case by the term in the Indian penal code system. Farid facedarrest and was sent tojudicial custody since February24, 2015. The other accused in the girl’s FIR was AngchaChema, a local Naga boy. The case was under trialwithin thecompetent and able Indian legal system. Howdid Farid alone becomea target of the Naga mob on March 5and received a new identity that of an illegal Bangladeshi migrant? Was it because his name was Syed Farid Khan?Or was it because he was a Muslim, a Bengali speaking non-Naga? 

Nurul Islam Laskar, executive editor of the Eastern Chronicle, an English daily from Assam, puts it this way:“Give the dog a bad name and hang it, call a man a Bangladeshi and you can do anything with him.”

A large portion of the media including the national electronic media called Farid a 'Bangladeshi'. Director General of Police, Nagaland, L.L. Doungel, called him an ‘illegal Bangladeshi citizen,’ which the Nagaland Chief Minister TR Zeliang later out rightly refuted.

The facts are bare for all possible scrutiny. Sharif (Farid) hailed from a respectable family of Bosla village in Karimganj district of Assam. His father late Syed Hussain Khan who worked for the Indian Air Force (for 20 years) retired from the Air Force Station, Kumbhirgram (Cachar, Assam). Sharif's mother has been drawing family pension from IAF till date. Sharif's late brother Imanuddin Khan served in the Indian Army and took part in the Kargil War against Pakistan in 1999. He was injured in the war and succumbed to his injuries later.

Sharif's two other brothers are also presently serving in the Indian Army- Havildar Jamaluddin Khan is in the Assam Regiment, posted at Diphu and the brother Kamaluddin Khan is also with the Assam Regiment and presently posted at a location in Arunachal Pradesh.

The media houses who termed Sharif a 'Bangladeshi' certainly owe an apology to the nation and not only express their deepest regretsto his bereaved family members but also offer an unconditional appeal for reprieve from all who have been adversely affected and hurt by the incident and the unfolding of the malicious propaganda.”

Assam CM Tarun Gogoi reacted in a very swift and decisive manner. He termed Farid’s lynching and death as barbaric and utterly unacceptable. He claimed Farid to be a citizen of Assam and sent Karimganj DeputyCommissioner, Sanjiv Gohain Boruah to his grieved family on March 6, and necessarily airlifted hiscoffinfrom Dimapur on March 7 by a military chopper and handed it over to his family.

Khan was buried in Karimganj’s Bosla village at around 11 AM on Sunday, March 8. A huge turnout was reported during hid burial with former minister and Karimganj (South) MLA Siddique Ahmad, All India United Democratic Front’s regional leaders and other political and religious VIPs attending the same.

Unconfirmed medical reports from Dimapur’s Zoin Hospital, received by some media sources says that the girl was not raped, and there was no sexual harassment but of late another unconfirmed report reveals there was rape. According to a news report published in the Dainik Asomiya Pratidin, the premier Assamese daily, dated March 7, by senior journalist Ziaur Rahmanthe Superintendent of Police (SP), Dimapur, Miren Zamir confirmed that the girl was not raped. “The girl rather blackmailed the boy for Rupees 2 lakhs. He didn't pay up and arape case was filed against him,” local sources confirmed Eastern Crescent.

Moreover, there are 2 video footages from the Orient Hotel’s CCTV camera, the place where according to the girl the rape took place on theevening of March 23, on air on social media sites. One is a 32 second long clip showing the complainant girl entering the hotel alone on her own. The other is more than a 2 minute long clip where it clearly showeda man paying hotel charges, receiving a receipt and after a while he was joined by the girl and another man and then the triofinally leaving the hotel. Nowhere in the footages didthe girl appear paranoid, under pressure or in any hurry. 

Three senior officials of Dimapur, including the SP and the Central Jail Chief, were suspended on Friday and a judicial inquiry slapped on them.Following this24 others were arrested and police say more arrests are expected shortly from among the mob. 

The commoners of Assam stood united in solidarity with Farid Khan and took to the streets against his killing. 

Across the party line all political leaders from Assam, except a few from the BJP, have strongly condemned the incidence, criticized the terming of Farid as a Bangladeshi migrant for a patriotic armymen’s family and demanded immediate thorough enquiry into the matter.

Bandhs called by several political, social and business organizations received a good response with total shut downsalong with traffic remaining off the roads.

The All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) president and Dhubri MP Maulana Badruddin Ajmal along with his party colleague and Karimganj MP Radheshyam Biswas met with several union ministers in Delhi and demanded toughest punishment for the culprits of the inhuman killing and barbarism in Dimapur. MP Ajmal said that, “It was a total failure of the law and order situation in Nagaland for which Nagaland as well as Central Government are jointly responsible”. It is a shame that Assamese, especially Bengali speaking genuine Indian citizens are harassed in the name of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants, he said. 

The AIUDF MLAs in Assam also demanded genuine compensation for the victim’s family and asked the Assam CM to ensure safety and security of all Assamese people living in Nagaland.

TRP ridden media houses must resort to responsible reporting and do away with propaganda that can foment hatred. Rape is a serious crime, unacceptable in anyway, but must be given a chance to beexamined under due process of law. Women must not misuse law. Farid Khan may or may not be a criminal but terming him an illegal Bangladeshi migrant by the propagandist media and political groups with vested interests is highly condemnable and inhumane an approach.Farid’s death has been an insult to thoseIndian Muslims of Assam who speak different Bengali dialects. It has devastatedthe extremely patriotic4 army men family, the eldest son among whom was a Kargil War martyr while his brother Farid succumbed to a wild mob attack in which the administration is no less innocent and the media that followed suit.


Author info

M Burhanuddin Qasmi's picture

Director, Markazul Ma'arif Education & Rsearch Centre (MMERC), Mumbai.

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