Gauhati HC directs Assam govt to furnish custodial death details

Gauhati High court directed the Assam government in a Public interest Litigation (PIL) hearing to present all details of the alleged encounter killings since the Bharatiya Janata Party took over in May 2021. The court also sought an independent probe into the alleged fake encounters by the Assam Police, on Monday.

Soon after the BJP’s Himanta Biswas took over as chief minister of the state at least 31 men have died in police custody or alleged shootouts with the police, a majority of whom belonged to ethnic or religious minorities, reported Maktoob Media.

Out of the 30 victims who have been identified, 14 were Muslims, 10 belonged to the Boda, DImasa, or Kuki- tribal communities.

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Senior advocate Indira Jai Singh who appeared for the petitioner, Arif Jawad, presented the case before the Bench of chief justice Sudhanshu Dhulia and justice Soumitra Saikia. A period of one week has been given to the advocate general for Assam, D. Saikia, to file a response in the matter.

In the PIL, Jwadder sought the registration of an First Information Report under section 302 of the Indian Penal Code over the fake encounters of the alleged accused by the police.

Apart from the state, the Assam police, the department of law and justice, and the National Human Rights Commission have also been named as respondents.

“According to the police statement as published in all newspapers, it is stated that the alleged accused tried to snatch service revolvers of the police personnel and in self-defense, police had to retaliate and kill or injure the alleged accused. All the injured or dead persons were not militants and hence not trained to use pistols and it is very unlikely that they could use the service revolvers after snatching against the police force that was outnumbered and heavily armed. It cannot be the case that all the alleged accused could snatch a service revolver from a trained police officer whose pistols are normally tied to a rope to the waist belt of that officer,” read the plea.

The Scroll reported that the police version of the deaths records a similar script in almost all cases, where the alleged accused was shot because he tried to attack the police or snatch weapons and escape custody.

As per the data of the Assam police regarding the injuries in shootouts between May 10 and December 10, at least 55 people were injured of which at least 30 identified as Muslims.

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