Cong seeks judicial probe into Assam encounters

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Guwahati, Jul 15 (PTI) The Congress in Assam on Thursday urged Governor Jagadish Mukhi to institute a judicial inquiry into the series of encounters that have taken place in the states for the last two months since Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma assumed office.

In a party memorandum submitted to the Governor, state Congress chief Ripun Bora alleged that human rights in Assam have been constantly violated during these two months since the BJP government came to power for the second consecutive term.

The Congress has always been fighting against crimes like drugs and cattle smuggling, rape among others and we are committed to extend our fullest co-operation to the new government to make Assam a crime free state, he said.

'At the same time, we are opposed to violation of human rights as enshrined in the Constitution in the pretext of apprehending criminals', the Rajya Sabha MP said.

It is pertinent to mention that more than 30 encounters have taken place in Assam during the last two months, injuring and killing several accused after the police arrested them, he pointed out.

He said it is very surprising that in each encounter the police version is that 'Police had to shoot the accused arrested in connection with the crime of drugs peddling, cow smuggling while the accused tried to escape either from the police custody or by trying to snatch the weapon of the police'.

Bora alleged that the whole story is suspicious as it is almost impossible to abscond from police custody.

'There is much reason to believe that it might be possible that it was being done to conceal the evidences that might surely lead to the involvement of some high profile leader from the ruling government as drug peddling and cattle smuggling was going on for the last five years of the previous BJP government', he alleged.

The chief minister in a recently held conference of the Officers in Charge of the police stations had said that to shoot an accused while trying to flee is a pattern of the police.

'This statement of the chief minister has not only sparked controversy but also provoked the police, the protector of law and peace, to misuse their power.

'It is has been noticed that since then, the incidents of encounter have been growing day by day with the same modus operandi in all the cases', Bora claimed.

The Congress urges 'you to constitute a judicial probe under a sitting Judge of the High Court, to inquire into these series of encounters made by police where a number of accused died and injured'.

The inquiry should probe into the circumstances that compelled the police to shoot the accused and to find out whether there were any alternate ways to capture the accused alive by averting an encounter.

'We sincerely hope that you will exercise your good office to protect the Law as well as the Fundamental Rights and Human Rights of the people of Assam', Bora added.

The memorandum also included the list of encounters that have taken place in the state during the last two months.

Leader of the Opposition in Assam assembly Debabrata Saikia had raised the matter during zero hour discussion during the day.

Brushing aside criticism of his government over recent encounter killings, the chief minister while replying to the discussion said the state police has 'full operational liberty' to fight against the criminals within the ambit of law. PTI DG SNS SNS

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