CNAPA Condemns Alleged “Fake Encounter” of Muslim Youths in Assam, Calls for Investigation

In a strong condemnation, the Community Network Against Protected Areas (CNAPA), representing indigenous peoples and forest-dwelling communities, has criticized the alleged “fake encounter” of two Muslim youths reportedly carried out by armed forest guards at Assam’s Laokhowa Wildlife Sanctuary.

Jaliluddin and Sameeruddin, residents of Dhingbari Chapari village in Nagaon District, tragically lost their lives on June 22 while fishing at Rowmari Beel wetland, along with other villagers. According to CNAPA, “Armed forest guards opened fire on them without warning from all directions, prompting others to flee for safety.”

The victims sustained multiple gunshot wounds and were later pronounced dead at Nagaon Civil Hospital by forest department personnel.

Highlighting broader issues, CNAPA underscored the systemic violence and human rights abuses faced by forest-dependent communities across India under the pretext of conservation. They called for an “independent and impartial investigation” into the incident.

Eyewitnesses and local residents, including Junaid Hussain from a nearby village, have expressed doubts about the official narrative, stating, “Rahman and Karim were known to us; they were not involved in any illegal activities. This incident seems to target innocent people based solely on their religious identity.”

The incident has exacerbated distrust between the local Muslim community and law enforcement agencies, prompting multiple human rights organizations, including Amnesty International India, to express solidarity with the victims’ families and demand swift action to address community grievances.

“The deaths of Jaliluddin and Sameeruddin highlight the issue of alleged fake encounters by forest department officials across India’s protected areas,” CNAPA reiterated. They emphasized that such actions not only violate human rights but also erode trust in conservation efforts, perpetuating fear and resistance among local communities.

As the investigation continues, CNAPA and other civil society groups have pledged ongoing monitoring and advocacy for justice, sparking renewed debate on extrajudicial killings in India and calling for comprehensive reforms to protect marginalized communities.

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has responded by ordering a judicial inquiry into the incident, asserting, “We take these allegations seriously and will ensure a fair investigation. No one is above the law, and any misconduct by state officials will be met with appropriate consequences.” 1

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