NHRC orders probe into Assam Police encounter spree


Assam police encounters: A Human Rights Commission member stated firing upon an accused when in police custody or during a chase should not be made a trend.

Image source: NDTV The Assam Human Rights Commission, taking suo motu cognizance, has asked the state government to conduct an inquiry into circumstances leading to the death of 12 alleged criminals, and injury of 5, in police firing since the Himanta Biswa Sarma-led government took charge two months ago. The commission issued the order to the principal secretary to the home and political department of Assam, asking the Assam Police to submit a report by August 17. On Sunday, one of the AHRC members, Deva Kumar Saikia has asked on behalf of the Commission, that the Assam government should ascertain the facts and circumstances leading to the death and injuries of the accused persons. Another member, Naba Kamal Bora, in an order, noted that according to the news reports, all the accused were unarmed and in handcuffs during the police firing. He further mentioned that firing upon an accused when in police custody or during a chase should not be made a trend. The order which was finally made available to the reporters read, “Considering the gravity of the situation, the commission has directed the state government’s principal secretary of the home and political department to institute an inquiry to find out the facts and circumstances leading to the death and injuries of the 12 accused.” Earlier, a Delhi-based lawyer from Assam, Arif Jwadder, had filed a complaint with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) against the Assam Police for the series of encounters that have taken place since Himanta Biswa Sarma took over as chief minister on May 10. Justifying the encounters, Sarma had on July 5 said that shooting at criminals ‘should be the pattern’ if they attempt to escape from custody or try to snatch guns from the police to fire at them. Opposition parties have strongly criticized the recent events of firing. The state Congress chief Ripun Bora commented that CM's statement has “dangerous ramifications” and if this practice of encounters is not checked, Assam will become a “police state”.

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