When fishermen were made Al Qaeda terrorist overnight in Assam

By TwoCircles.net Staff Reporter,

Guwahati: Rustam Ali had a terrible time as he was picked up by police as terrorist having connection with Al Qaeda in Assam’s Majuli. So were Sherafat Ali and Dhiren Doley from Majuli who were detained by police and media immediately jumped to term them as terrorist element after the Al Jawahari’s video where the Al Qaeda leader also pronounced Assam’s name as their next target.

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When the media hysteria ended Rustam Ali, Sherafat Ali and Dhiren Doley were later released as fortunately they were found to be mere fishermen from Assam’s one of the remotest places in Lakhimpur district.

When fishermen were made Al Qaeda terrorist overnight in Assam

But they were stunned. “We do not know anything. We were shocked. But thankfully we were released. We have been ruined now people will behave in a different way after the episode,” Rustam Ali, who hails from Fatehpur area of Lakhimpur district, told TwoCircles.net.

This is the tragedy of the common people. Sherafat Ali and Dhiren Doley’s fate is also same. Branded as terrorist without any evidence was no less than a curse to them.

Police in Majuli said that they were picked up on September 6 during a regular checkup and were later released the next day after confirming their details with local police station in Lakhimpur.

“They were fishermen and they are used to the place very often with their job,” said Sumitra Sarma, a police official at Majuli. Two fishing nets, two knives, torch light and a match box were recovered from them.

When fishermen were made Al Qaeda terrorist overnight in Assam

But the matter of concern was that nobody thought it important enough to publish their innocence. Though their arrest was widely published on media and websites but unfortunately no one thought it worthy enough to do a follow up regarding their innocence.

“This is the most unfortunate thing to happen. Today media plays a major role in the society. Every media published or telecast the news item of three terrorist elements getting arrested but unfortunately no one thought it to be worthy enough to publish the news of their release and innocence. This will give a wrong impression and create more confusion among the people,” said Hafiz Ahmed, president of Char Chapori Sahitya Parishad (CCSP), a socio-cultural organization of the state told TCN.

Senior journalist and former BBC correspondent to this region Subir Bhaumik slammed Assam police. He alleged that police try to create these kinds of things to get fund from the central government.

When fishermen were made Al Qaeda terrorist overnight in Assam

“Assam police and media have the habit of playing up the terrorist threat, most of the times needlessly. Initially they blamed terrorists for the 2008 serial blasts and I challenged that and was proved right. I also know of Muslim dacoits in western Assam who were made to say they were HUJI terrorists on promise of lucrative payments and finally they were paid less than half of what was promised to them. You can guess who pocketed much of the money. Playing up the terrorist threat gets much funds from Centre, hence vested quarters have an interest in doing that,” Bhaumik who also authored books like ‘Insurgent Crossfire’ and ‘Troubled Periphery’ told TwoCircles.net.

The entire episode of framing these fishermen as terrorist and their treatment by media is also been criticized. “It’s ridiculous how someone can be termed a terrorist without any evidence. When these poor fishermen were released as innocent, why nobody thought it important enough to publish it? That way these people have been murdered. It’s very unfortunate and sends a wrong message to the society,” Ashraful Hussain, a young social activist, told TCN.