“My brother’s wife is a Naga. But as she and her daughter arrive in a few days, we will ensure their safety and security … though Naga boys brutally killed my brother,” says Syed Jamaluddin Khan, the elder brother of Syed Sarifuddin Khan, who was lynched in Dimapur in Nagaland last Thursday.
“Holy Khan [wife of Sarifuddin] is now part of our family. She is a Naga by birth, and so is her three-year-old daughter, Sneha; but now, they are one of us,” Mr. Jamaluddin says insisting that his brother’s name is “not Farid Khan” as reported in a section of the media.
“He was in the business of used cars, and not doing too badly; three of us seven brothers were dependent on him.” He had been “quite happily married for eight years.”
The Khan family of Bosla village in Karimganj of south Assam is confused about the incident that triggered the killing.
Sarifuddin was dragged out of the Dimapur jail, lynched and hanged from a clock tower. However, many in Nagaland have distanced themselves from the killing, calling it an “unplanned murder lacking the approval of various Naga tribes” and society.
Mr. Jamaluddin refuses to buy the argument. “I was told that my brother was branded as an illegal immigrant and we as Bangladeshis and thus the murder was actually planned,” his voice chokes. “Nothing could be a bigger lie than calling us illegal citizens. My father, Syed Hossain Khan, was in the Military Engineer Services. Two of us seven brothers were soldiers and I work for the Assam Regiment, but still we are called illegal immigrants.” Mr. Jamaluddin says a distant relative of Ms. Holy Khan alleged that he raped her. He was arrested in the third week of February. “We were told that it was a fake allegation as the woman was never raped … Is this how you treat the brother of an Army man,” he asks.
He demands that the allegations against his brother be investigated properly, and those who killed him be brought to book. “Only a couple of us in a huge family are earning now.” Help from government is yet to reach the family. “I am on my knees and praying to the Home and Defence Ministers for justice and food,” he says.