Assam Family’s NRC Ordeal: 2 Deaths, Bleak Future & Endless Trauma

Assam Family’s NRC Ordeal: 2 Deaths, Bleak Future & Endless Trauma

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“We don’t want these kind of NRC hearings. The hearings have claimed the lives of my sisters.”
Asma Khatun
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Asma Khatun lost her two sisters in a bus accident. They were coming back from an NRC hearing. 
Asma Khatun lost her two sisters in a bus accident. They were coming back from an NRC hearing. 
(Photo: The Quint/Anjana Dutta)

On 5 August, Asma Khatun lost her two sisters, Joimon Nisa and Arjina Begum, in a bus accident in the Kamrup district of Assam. They were returning from an NRC re-verification hearing in Golaghat. Joimon was 34 years old and Arjina was only 14.

Also Read : Kashmir, NRC, Lynching — You Can’t Take Up Every Cause. So, Focus

Arjina lost her life in a bus accident while she was coming back from an NRC hearing. 
Arjina lost her life in a bus accident while she was coming back from an NRC hearing. 
(Photo: The Quint/Anjana Dutta)

The sisters were part of the NRC. On 3 August, notices by NRC authorities were served to the family, which lives in Dakachang village, to appear urgently for document re-verification.

The only snag was that they had to appear for the hearing within 24 hours and the hearing centre was almost 300 km away in Golaghat, in upper Assam.

Asma blames this last-minute NRC hearing notice for the death of her sister.

“The hearing should happen here. We don’t want to go all the way there. Only if we’re alive can we go. Why did NRC authorities hold the hearing so far away from where we live? In one stroke, I lost my two sisters.”
Asma Khatun

It’s not just the two deaths. The accident has also left multiple members of the family seriously injured. Ajizul Rehman used to run the family-owned grocery shop in Dakachang, but the accident has left him bedridden.

“My husband’s tongue was slit, he can’t talk. He also has a head and a back injury. My father-in-law was also seriously injured in the accident. He’s admitted in the medical college hospital.”
Munija Parveen, Azijul Rehman’s Wife
Ajizul Rehman suffered multiple injuries after the bus accident
Ajizul Rehman suffered multiple injuries after the bus accident
(Photo: The Quint / Anjana Dutta)

The other brother, MJ Ahmed, was lucky to have escaped with just one broken arm. He says that if they had got enough time to appear for the hearing, the accident would perhaps never have happened. NRC authorities are supposed to give at least 15 days’ notice to the respondent to appear for a hearing.

“We got the notice just 24 hours before the hearing. We have gone for three hearings already in Kaoimari, Rangia and the last in Golaghat.”
MJ Ahmed, Arjina’s Brother

The two deaths have left the family shaken. They are unsure if their names will remain in the final NRC. For now, they have to deal with an uncertain future and trauma.

Mariam Begum (first from right) showing the names of her family members in the NRC 
Mariam Begum (first from right) showing the names of her family members in the NRC 
(Photo: The Quint/Anjana Dutta)
“My grief doesn’t let me sleep. My younger daughter and I were very close. I don’t know how I’ll live without her.”
Mariam Begum, Mother of Late Arjina and Joimon

Also Read : What Happens to Those Who Are Not Included in the NRC?

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