Assam police evade RTI questions on police shootings, says Youth Congress

Assam’s Youth Congress alleged on Tuesday that police were avoiding answering right to information questions about “fake encounters” that took place in the state over the past year, a report said. reported NDTV.

Angkita Dutta, head of the Congress youth wing, told the news channel that his team had filed RTI petitions based on media reports, asking the police for information on the number of such incidents and the number people killed or injured.

“Of 35 police districts in the state, only 18 of them sent us RTI responses,” she said. “So far, only in Nagaon, the state government has commissioned a CID [Criminal Investigation Department] investigation that found the encounter to be fake, so we require all suspected fake or questionable encounters to be investigated.

During the Nagaon incident, police allegedly assaulted former student leader Kriti Kamal Bora and then shot him in the knee on 22 January. Bora said he was shot after trying to intervene when he saw police beat two people he knew. . But police said Bora was involved in drug trafficking and assaulted an official.

Subsequently, the case was forwarded to the Assam Police Criminal Investigation Department which named Sub-Inspector Pradeep Bania in its indictment filed on July 5, according to The Meghalayan.

On Tuesday, Dutta also alleged police superintendents in some districts were evading response by saying the shooting was being investigated while others claimed police action was part of their duty. and that no departmental investigation has been opened.

“How are the police going to justify that they were doing their legitimate duty?” she asked.

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Several people accused of a crime have been shot or injured by police gunfire since Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma took office in May last year. In most cases, the police claimed to have opened fire in self-defence or to prevent the accused from escaping.

In an affidavit in June, the state government told the Gauhati High Court that 51 people had been killed and 139 injured due to police action or while in police custody since May 2021.

The affidavit was filed in response to public interest litigation by Delhi-based lawyer Arif Jwadder, who had called for an independent investigation into rising police shootings in Assam.

Jwadder had cited news reports to claim that more than 80 such incidents occurred from May 2021 to December of that year. He added that 28 people had been killed and 48 injured in “fake encounters” during that period.

On March 15, Sarma had defended the police action in the State Assembly. The number of cases recorded in January and February fell by 30% compared to the same period last year, Sarma said, adding that the police’s tough stance against criminals was working.

“The fall in the crime rate shows that the police action against criminals has worked,” the chief minister added. “We have been criticized several times in the House for the meetings. No one supports dating. The police must obey the law. But while respecting the law, if a bullet hits a rapist, we must be clear whether we should sympathize with the rapist or with the victim.