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Nazmin Afroz recalls the day she was maimed for life


GUWAHATI, Dec 5 - During the days of the Assam Agitation, Nazmin Afroz was in school. Like other students, she also actively took part in that movement. On December 12 last year, the same spirit led her to take part in a rally against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. As a consequence three toes of her left leg were damaged for life after being hit by a bullet shot by security personnel. A resident of Hatigaon area, 52-year-old Nazmin said, �I went to take part in the rally along with my daughter Suzana and our tenant Nazma Begum. When the rally reached Hatigaon Namghar, a convoy of security personnel reached the spot and opened fire. Everyone ran for safety. We also ran and took shelter on a residential campus and then I realised that a bullet had already hit my left leg and it was bleeding profusely. Nazma Begum also received bullet injury to her left leg.�

They were immediately taken to the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) and after preliminary treatment Nazmin Afroz was admitted to a city-based private hospital. On the other hand, Nazma Begum was released from the GMCH after preliminary treatment. �Initially the doctors said that I might lose the three injured toes of my left leg after surgery. But luckily all the toes were kept intact, but there was no sensation in them. Even today I don�t feel any sensation in the three toes. Because of this it is now not possible for me to keep standing for a long time. I also feel pain in the left leg sometimes,� Nazmin said.

Recalling the fateful day, Nazmin�s daughter, engineering graduate Suzana said, �When we were trying to hide on a residential campus, some people from outside started shouting and challenged us to face the consequences of taking part in the protest rally. They also used various slang words. After a while when we came out of the campus and tried to get an ambulance to take my mother to the hospital, a young man in a leather jacket and with a gamosa on his shoulder appeared at the scene. His behaviour was very suspicious and he tried to cause a delay in taking my mother to the hospital. That was the only time I ever saw him.�

Nazmin�s son Sharique Afroz was in the forefront of the rally and very close to Sam Stafford, who had been killed by security personnel that evening.

�Everyone became panicky when security personnel opened fire without any warning. It was almost dark and everyone was trying to save their own life. I was also running and then saw a boy lying on the road. He was later identified as Sam Stafford,� he said.

Nazmin�s husband Nur Afroz was also on the main road of Hatigaon area when police opened fire. �The convoy of security personnel fired continuously while they were crossing the area. It was totally dark and the situation was beyond imagination. Quite a few people might have been injured on that evening,� Nur Afroz said.

Nazmin rued that although three of her toes had been rendered useless in the movement, till date no organisation which took active part in the anti-CAA movement has visited her family to show solidarity. Only Dr Samujjal Kumar Bhattacharya, who is her childhood friend, called her after the incident.

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