Two men called Protul Daimary had to die because they shared a name with a militant.
Neither had any resemblance or connection with Protul Daimary, the militant the security forces were after. That, however, did not prevent them from being gunned down in an “encounter” with troops of the 62 Field Regiment on March 7, 2004.
The families of both had been seeking justice since. It came on Monday, when the Gauhati High Court asked the army to pay Rs 4 lakh as compensation to the next of kin of each of the victims within eight weeks.
The division bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Hrishikesh Roy also asked the government and the army to take legal action against Lieutenant (now Captain) Sartaz Mehta under Section 302 of IPC for killing the two in a fake encounter.
One Protul was a student of Amiya Kumar Das College in north-central Assam’s Dhekiajuli town. The other was a farmer who is survived by his wife and three children. The former’s father, Khalsang Daimary, and the latter’s wife, Joshna Daimary, had filed two separate petitions before the court.
Troops of the 62 Field Regiment under Mehta’s charge had picked the two Protuls from their houses in Darrang district. They were taken to the army’s Panbari camp on suspicion of being members of the outlawed National Democratic Front of Boroland. Their bullet-riddled bodies were later handed over to the local police.
“The court found the army’s version that the two Protuls were killed in an encounter as improbable and directed it to initiate appropriate proceedings under Section 302 IPC and other relevant provisions of the Army Act,” said Bijon Kumar Mahajan and Arshad Choudhury, advocates for the petitioners.