Body of former CPI(M) legislator Nizamuddin Khan handed over to Gauhati Medical College and Hospital

The body and organ donation movement in Assam, initiated by the Ellora Vigyan Mancha (EVM), got a boost when the family members of the former Communist Party of India (Marxist) legislator, Nizamuddin Khan, donated his body to the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) here on Sunday night.

The EVM, a voluntary organisation, handed over Mr. Khan's body to the GMCH authorities. The group said this was the first instance of body donation by a person belonging to the Muslim community in Assam.

“When we went to inquire about his health condition, Mr. Khan expressed his desire in the presence of his wife, family members and others that his body should be donated to the GMCH authorities for medical research. He also requested us to prepare the will and other necessary documents so that he could sign them. Unfortunately, he passed away at 7.40 p.m. on Saturday before we could do that. Following his demise, his wife and other family members requested us to fulfil his last desire and arrange for handing over his body to the GMCH authorities,” Isfaqur Rahman, EVM's convener, toldTheHindu.

GMCH Superintendent Ramen Talukdar accepted the body and lauded the role of the Mancha in spearheading the body donation movement. Veteran State CPI(M) leader Hemen Das was among those present.

Mr. Khan, who died of cancer, was elected twice from the Sarukhetri constituency in lower Assam's Barpeta district as CPI(M) legislator. He was also a member of the State Secretariat of the Left party besides being president of the State unit of the All-India Kisan Sabha.

The formal handing over of Mr. Khan's body to the GMCH coincided with the eighth death anniversary of Ellora Roy Choudhury, who became the first woman from the north-east to have donated her body for medical research. Mr. Rahman is the husband of Ellora.

Fighting superstition

The EVM has been spreading scientific temper among the people and to fight all forms of superstition and obscurantism regarding body and organ donation.

“In response to our campaign and movement, 431 people in Assam so far have pledged their eyes and bodies for transplantation or for enrichment of medical science and research. About 56 per cent of them are women. Till date we have handed over the bodies of 19 donors — 16 to the GMCH authorities and three to the Assam Medical College in Dibrugarh,” said Mr. Rahman.

Seven persons, including five women, pledged their eyes and bodies for transplantation or for enrichment of medical science and research on the occasion. They included noted Assamese novelist and Sahitya Akademi Award winner Nirupama Borgohain, vice-president of the Assam unit of the All-India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA) Rezina Khatun, and columnist and writer Tultul Barua.

Street plays and other programmes are being organised by the EVM across the State to generate awareness against the evils of witch-hunting, which recently claimed several lives, including many women, in lower Assam's Kokrajhar district and other places.