Anti-CAB protest ictim
Tribute being paid to 17-year-old Sanm Stafford who was shot dead during protest at Hatigaon in Guwahati on Wednesday evening. Image credit - Northeast Now

The death of a minor boy during the police firing on Thursday in Guwahati has led the citizens to question the ‘protocol’ of the security forces to contain the peaceful democratic protest.

Seventeen-year-old Sam Stafford was shot dead by the security forces at Hatigaon area of the city on Thursday evening.

A resident of Hatigaon area of the city, Sam was part of a 1,000 plus group of people who were protesting peacefully against the contentious Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) on Thursday.

According to the Assam government, two persons including Sam were killed during the protests on Thursday.

About 27 people with bullet injuries were admitted to the government-run Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) the same evening.

Also read: CAB protest: Another martyred in police firing at Guwahati

“He (Sam) went there with some of his friends although we asked him not to go. We were told that the protest was peaceful. However, suddenly the streetlights were blacked out and there were firing. Sam fell to the bullets of the security forces,” said Sam’s father, Biju Stafford.

“How can one justify police firing on innocent civilians protesting peacefully? There should have been lathi-charge first. Why didn’t they fire rubber bullets if the motive was to disperse the crowd?” said Sahid Alam (name changed), a friend of Sam while talking to this correspondent on Saturday.

“It was a cold-blooded murder. Sam received two bullet injuries – one hit him below the jaws while the other hit him on his upper back. The police could have shot in the leg if the intention was to disperse the crowd,” said another eyewitness.

“I was there during the protest with many of the women in our locality. My daughter was also there with me. Suddenly, my daughter asked me to run but I asked her why should I run? Minutes later, I felt something on my left leg. I could not walk,” said Nazmeen Khanam Afroz (52), who received bullet injuries on her leg.

Nazmeen is undergoing treatment at Down Town hospital in the city. The bullet pierced through her leg rupturing muscles as well as the bones. She is waiting for a resurrection surgery to stand on her feet again.

Nazmeen’s bosom friend Nazma Begum, who received bullet injury on her left leg, released from GMCH after surgery, is taking rest at her home now.

She, however, is unaware of how long it would take to stand on her feet again.

“It was shocking that police fired at us. We never expected that the government will resort to firing to contain a peaceful demonstration,” said Nazma while talking to this correspondent.