PIL in Gauhati High Court seeks independent probe into Assam fake encounters

Published on Dec 23, 2021 06:31 PM IST

Besides the state government, Assam Police, the department of law and justice, NHRC and the Assam human rights commission have been named as respondents in the petition. The HC had admitted the petition but is yet to list any date of hearing.

A public interest litigation has been filed in the Gauhati High Court seeking an independent investigation into the incidents of alleged fake encounters by the Assam Police. (HT FILE PHOTO.)
A public interest litigation has been filed in the Gauhati High Court seeking an independent investigation into the incidents of alleged fake encounters by the Assam Police. (HT FILE PHOTO.)

An advocate has filed a public interest litigation in the Gauhati High Court seeking an independent investigation into the incidents of alleged fake encounters by the Assam Police.

Arif Jwadder, a resident of Assam who is practicing law in New Delhi, mentions that 80 such incidents have happened in the state since May 2021 (when a new BJP-led government took charge) and resulted in 28 deaths and left 48 injured.

In July this year, Jwadder had filed a complaint against such incidents with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). The commission had sought a report from the Assam Police in September. In November, NHRC transferred the case to the Assam human rights commission. The complaint is still pending.

Besides the state government, Assam Police, the department of law and justice, NHRC and the Assam human rights commission have been named as respondents in the petition. The HC had admitted the petition but is yet to list any date of hearing.

In his petition, Jwadder stated that the people killed or injured in fake encounters by police were not criminals and the modus operandi of all such incidents as per police version has been the same.

“It is stated that the alleged accused tried to snatch the service revolvers of police personnel and in self-defence, the police had to retaliate and kill or injure the alleged accused…It can’t 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 with the waist belt of the officer,” the petition, which HT has seen, stated.

It added that while the police version mentioned about the alleged accused trying to snatch weapons from the police, there was no mention of the accused aiming or firing at police personnel. Also, all the encounters took place at night and the victims were unarmed and handcuffed at that time.

The petition requested the HC to seek records of all encounters from the Assam government and police and order an independent investigation against police personnel involved in the incidents by an independent agency like the Central Bureau of Investigation under direct supervision of the court.

It also sought a judicial inquiry by a sitting judge of the Gauhati HC into the encounters, direction to the Assam government to set up human rights courts in each district and order monetary compensation to families of encounter victims after due verification.

In July this year, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had asked police personnel to shoot at legs of alleged criminals if they tried to escape from police custody. The opposition Congress has been targeting the state government over the encounters terming most of them as fake.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Utpal is a Senior Assistant Editor based in Guwahati. He covers seven states of North-East India and heads the editorial team for the region. He was previously based in Kathmandu, Dehradun and Delhi with Hindustan Times.

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