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Assam court holds 25 guilty in lynching of 73-yr-old tea garden doctor last year

The court acquitted six accused in the case, while another accused had died in judicial custody. The quantum of punishment for the 25 accused will be announced on October 19
By Utpal Parashar | Hindustan Times, Guwahati
UPDATED ON OCT 12, 2020 05:01 PM IST

A court in Assam on Monday pronounced 25 people guilty in a case, where a mob had lynched a senior doctor around 13 months ago.

District and sessions judge Robin Phukan held 25 of the accused guilty for the murder of Dr Deben Dutta (73). The victim was the resident doctor of Teok Tea Estate (TE) hospital in Upper Assam’s Jorhat district.

The court acquitted six accused in the case, while another accused had died in judicial custody.

Also read: Two lynched, beheaded, set on fire over witchcraft suspicion in Assam

The quantum of punishment for the 25 accused will be announced next Monday (October 19).

An irate mob, mostly comprising tea garden workers, had assaulted Dr Dutta on August 31, 2019, holding him responsible for the death of a patient in Teok TE. He was rushed to the Jorhat Medical College, where he was declared brought dead.

The pictures of the assault, which soon went viral on social media, created a sense of terror among doctors posted in tea gardens across Assam.

At least seven doctors, who were working in tea gardens, had resigned within a week of Dr Dutta’s murder.

Police had arrested 32 people, including three brothers of the deceased patient, following the attack under various sections of Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Assam Medicare Service Persons & Medicare Service Institutions (Prevention of Violence and Damage to Property) Act, 2011.

The incident was condemned by Indian Medical Association (IMA) and doctors in Assam also resorted to a one-day token strike in protest.

Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal had also ordered an inquiry into the incident.

Investigation into the case was concluded within a record time of 21 days and a voluminous 602-page charge sheet was submitted on September 21, 2019.

Assam Police said this is the first case in the country, where witness identity concealment approach was used.

A total of 60 people, including tea garden employees, journalists, the slain doctor’s family members, police personnel and forensic experts were named as witnesses.

Witness identity concealment approach was applied to seven of the 56, who had deposed during the trial of the case.

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