'Assam Police on Encounter Spree': Delhi-Based Lawyer Approaches NHRC
As per the complaint, the "encounter spree" began after Himanta Biswa Sarma's administration came into effect.
Arif Jwadder, A Delhi-based lawyer submitted a complaint stating that Assam Police has been undertaking "fake encouters", shooting down criminals charged with minor offences and sought the National Human Rights Commission's (NHRC) intervention in the matter, NDTV reported.
As per the complaint, the "encounter spree" began after Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma's administration came into effect two months ago.
Over 20 instances of police shootings have been reported since 1 June, in which accused have been shot at when they're under custody or in the midst of a raid. In at least five instances, an accused has died, NDTV reported.
Recent 'Fake Encounters'
On Sunday, 11 July, two shooting instances were reported in central Assam's Nagaon, when the police shot an alleged dacoit at Kokrajhar in western Assam and injured a suspected drug dealer in a seperate incident.
Assam police fired at an another alleged dacoit, Jainal Abedin, on the same day, killing him. The gun battle occurred at Dhing, about 28 km from Nagaon, NDTV reported.
Speaking to the press, Nagaon SP Anand Mishra said, "We had inputs that Abedin is going to loot a residence in Nagaon area within a very short span of time with his group. Led by Additional SP Dhurba Bora, police launched a massive manhunt at his residence and warned him to surrender with his arms but he fired at the policemen and in retaliation, the police team fired at him and he got injured. He was rushed to hospital for treatment where doctors declared him brought dead."
A legislator from Dhing, meanwhile, referred to the shootout as an instance of "targetting the minorities".
Aminul Islam said, "The Assam police is staging such fake encounters to target minority people. From what I know about the victim, he wasn't a dacoit but a brash drunkard."
What Jwadder Has Stated
As per the complaint by Jwadder, the Assam police provides doctored excuses for these firings, saying that the accused – who are most often small-timers such as drug dealers, cattle smugglers, dacoits – are fired upon while fleeing from custody.
Jwadder stated, "It is very unlikely that they could use the pistols after snatching against the police force that was outnumbered and heavily armed. Also, it cannot be believed that all alleged petty criminals could snatch a pistol from a trained police officer whose pistols/guns are normally tied to a rope to the waist belt of that officer," NDTV quoted.
In his urgent compaint to the NHRC, he added further, "Police actions are denying the rights of the alleged criminal of a fair trial."
Following CM Sarma's recent statement calling policemen to shoot at the criminals' legs, as permissible under law, Jwadder's complaint read that the police personnel have been “staging fake encounters with impunity", NDTV reported.
(With inputs from NDTV)
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