Assam orders probe into police firing at former student leader; opposition targets CM
The Assam government on Sunday constituted a one-man-inquiry commission to probe the incident of police firing on a former student leader in Nagaon district a day earlier.
Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma announced setting up of a one-man inquiry committee comprising additional chief secretary Pawan Borthakur to probe the shooting. The committee will submit its report in a week.
Kirti Kamal Bora, a former general secretary of students’ union of Nagaon College, was shot by police after he allegedly attacked a police team which was probing a narcotics case. The youth, who sustained a bullet injury on his leg, is admitted at the Guwahati Medical College Hospital (GMCH).
While the police allege Bora was shot at after he attacked a police team and some vials of heroin were found in his possession, his family members maintain the youth is innocent and accused the police of targeting him without reason.
“I had earlier issued strict instructions to the police to deal with criminals with a firm hand. But if any innocent is hurt by police actions, it won’t be tolerated. Measures will be taken against policemen, if they are found involved in wrongdoing,” said Sarma.
Earlier Assam Police had informed that the police personnel involved in the shooting of Bora have been sent to police reserve with immediate effect and assured that if there’s any lapse, “guilty personnel will be taken to task”.
“Police in police clothes were questioning a person suspected of carrying drugs. At that time, Bora reached the spot and asked the police team if they were police personnel. When the team members replied in affirmative, Bora started attacking the policemen,” Nagaon police superintendent Anand Mishra told journalists.
“It was while trying to overpower Bora that the police team resorted to firing. If they had not done it, there could have been a fatal injury. If there is any lacuna on the part of the police it will come out during investigation,” he added.
Bora was a member of the All Assam Students Union (AASU) and on Sunday its members and representatives from other student groups staged protest rally against police in town and outside Nagaon police station demanding the arrest of the policeman responsible for shooting the youth.
“I strongly condemn police action against Bora, an innocent youth. Incidents such as this one has created an atmosphere of police terror in the state. It is an example of a brutal state. We want strict action against those guilty and warn police to refrain from such things in future,” AASU chief advisor Samujjal Bhattacharya tweeted.
Saturday’s incident has led opposition parties in state to target the state government and specifically Chief Minister Sarma who had earlier directed the police to be strict with criminals and even shoot at those who tried to flee from custody or attack police personnel.
“I visited Bora’s home on Sunday. He comes from a simple family and was trying to earn a living by giving tuitions. Police attack on such a youth is a reflection of licence to shoot given to the police by the CM,” said Congress state president Bhupen Kumar Borah.
“We have been witnessing such extra-judicial shootings in the state in past months. Today it was Bora, but tomorrow it could be anyone of us. Public should come out against such police acts,” he added.
Raijor Dal president and Sivasagar MLA Akhil Gogoi condemned the shooting and demanded the arrest of the accused policeman. He also sought suspension of the Nagaon superintendent of police.
On January 11, the Gauhati High Court had directed the Assam government to file a detailed affidavit within two weeks on alleged fake encounters by the state police since May last year.
Hearing a petition filed by lawyer Arif Jwadder, a division bench of Justices Sudhanshu Dhulia and Soumitra Saikia directed that a detailed counter affidavit should be filed by Secretary (Home) or Additional Secretary (Home).
In his petition filed in December, Jwadder mentioned that 80 incidents of fake encounters had happened in the state since May 2021 (since the new government under Sarma took charge) and they resulted in 28 deaths and left 48 injured.