Amid eviction worries, Assam boy cracks NEET

Ahmed Ali appeared for the test 3 months after an eviction drive began in his area

Ahmed Ali appeared for the National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET) 11 days before two people in his neighbourhood died in police firing during an eviction drive in Darrang district’s Gorukhuti area on September 23.

He cracked the entrance exam with an all-India rank of 48,734 to bring some cheer amid the gloom that had set in since the Assam government initiated the eviction drive for an agricultural project in the Gorukhuti area in June.

Ahmed, the second youngest of eight siblings, had cleared his Class 12 in 2019 and spent a year in Guwahati to undergo coaching for NEET. His dream to become a doctor did not materialise in 2020.

“This made him more determined. We are happy that his hard work paid off,” said Abdul Khaleque, his elder brother.

It was not easy for Ahmed to study under the shadow of eviction. His family, like all others migrant Muslims settled on government land for decades, had received eviction notice soon after 120 bighas of land under the Dhalpur Shiva temple was cleared on June 7.

Dhalpur is one of several villages in the Gorukhuti area measuring more than 77,000 bighas.

The eviction drive was paused after the September 23 incident. Their house was spared the bulldozer, but they know they will have to move.

“The house of our next-door neighbour was uprooted. We too will probably have to go, leaving behind the small plot our family has been growing vegetables on. This plot has been sustaining us,” Abdul, who cleared his Bachelor of Arts from Sipajhar College said.

“Ahmed Ali is from Dhalpur No 3 village that was witness to the inhuman eviction by the government. His result is the answer to those who derisively call us Miya, Bangladeshi, or other names,” Mohammed Khalifa, a local activist said.

He said Ahmed had to run from pillar to post to acquire a permanent resident certificate for his higher studies. He got it after he promised a local leader that he would show him a “good result” in return.

“The boy did it,” Mr. Khalifa said.

Ahmed is unsure where his family will be when he gets admission for pursuing his medical dream. But he hopes to have a career that will enable him to buy themselves a place to stay — a place nobody can evict them from.

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