Assam: Gang rape accused killed in police encounter

A police officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorised to speak to the press, said the accused was shot dead when he tried to flee during crime scene reconstruction
 (HT PHOTO)
(HT PHOTO)
Updated on Mar 16, 2022 11:43 AM IST
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GUWAHATI: A rape accused was killed on the outskirts of Guwahati on Tuesday night when he allegedly tried to flee from custody after attacking a police team accompanying him for crime scene reconstruction, people aware of the matter said.

A police officer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity as he was not authorised to speak to the press, said the accused, Biki Ali, who was in his early 20s, was fired upon when he tried to flee.

Guwahati Medical College Hospital superintendent Abhijit Sarma said the person sustained four injury marks—one in the chest and three in the back. “He was brought to our hospital after 1 am [Wednesday] where he was declared brought dead. Details of gunshot wounds will be available after post-mortem.”

Sarma said police officer Twinkle Goswami, the in-charge of Panbazar women police station in Guwahati, was also injured in the incident. “The officer, who sustained minor injuries in her leg and hand, is admitted to the hospital. Her condition is stated to be stable.”

Ali and four others are accused of raping a 16-year-old student. He was arrested on Tuesday, a week after the police lodged a complaint in the case.

In the complaint, the girl’s family said she was allegedly raped on February 16. Two of the accused also shot a video of the assault and threatened to post it online if she reported the matter. They allegedly promised to delete the video and called the girl to a hotel in Guwahati on February 19, where they sexually assaulted her again.

The police booked the accused under the Indian Penal Code, Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, and the Information Technology Act. Efforts are on to nab the other accused, the police said.

Ali’s killing is the latest in a series of such incidents in Assam since May last year when the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government returned to power with Himanta Biswa Sarma as the chief minister.

Sarma, who heads the home department, has asked police to be strict against criminals and even shoot them in their legs if they try to flee from custody or attack them.

The Gauhati high court is hearing advocate Arif Jwadder’s petition filed in December alleging 80 cases of fake “encounters” have taken place in the state since May 2021 and left 28 people dead. In his petition, Jwadder sought an order for the registration of cases over the alleged extra-judicial killings. He pleaded for an independent investigation by a high court judge and monetary compensation to the families of the victims. Jwadder also sought a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation, a Special Investigation Team, or a police team from another state under the court’s supervision.

The state government, Assam Police, National Human Rights Commission of India (NHRC), and the Assam Human Rights Commission (AHRC) have been named as respondents in the petition.

“It is stated that the alleged accused tried to snatch service revolvers of police personnel and in self-defence, 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 to the waist belt of the officer,” said the petition, a copy of which HT has seen.

In an affidavit filed last month in response to the petition, the government said all legal procedures and NHRC guidelines were followed. It said 28 people have been killed and 73 injured in “encounters” between May 10, 2021, and January 28.

In July, Jwadder filed a complaint against such incidents with NHRC, which sought a report from Assam Police in September. In November, NHRC transferred the case to the AHRC.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Utpal is an assistant editor based in Guwahati. He covers all eight states of North-East and was previously based in Kathmandu, Dehradun and Delhi with Hindustan Times .

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Tuesday, June 28, 2022