One more police encounter in Assam, one accused injured


Guwahati: An extortion case accused was injured in a police encounter in the Udalguri district of Assam when he allegedly tried to escape from custody, a senior official said on Thursday.

Udalguri Superintendent of Police Hiranya Barman said a man allegedly involved in a number of extortion cases was arrested from the Assam-Nagaland border in Karbi Anglong district on Tuesday.

“He was later brought to Udalguri, where at least eight cases are pending since 2008. He used to extort money on behalf of a number of groups.

“Last night, he was guiding a team led by Additional SP to a hidden cache of arms in an area under Panery police station. In between, he requested to halt for nature”s call,” Barman added.

During that time, the accused ran and the police team chased asking him to stop, the officer claimed.

“When he did not stop, our team had to fire at him. He sustained two bullet injuries on his leg. He is now undergoing treatment at Tezpur Medical College and Hospital,” the SP said.

At least 23 suspected militants and criminals were shot dead in police encounters in the state since May as they reportedly tried to snatch weapons or attempted to escape from custody, while 39 accused were injured along with some policemen.

The rising number of shoot-outs whipped up a political furore with the opposition alleging that the Assam Police has turned “trigger happy” and is indulging in “open killings” under the Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma-led regime, which assumed charge on May 10.

Unfazed by criticism of his government over recent encounter killings, Sarma on July 15 had said in Assam Assembly that the state police has “full operational liberty” to fight criminals within the ambit of the law.

At the first-ever face-to-face meeting with the Officers In-Charge (OCs) of all police stations of Assam on July 5, Sarma had said that shooting at criminals “should be the pattern” if they attempt to escape from custody or try to snatch arms from the police to fire at them.

Taking suo moto cognizance, the Assam Human Rights Commission (AHRC) on July 7 asked the state government to institute an inquiry into cases of death and injury in police encounters over the past two months.

Earlier, a New Delhi-based lawyer from Assam, Arif Jwadder, had filed a complaint with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) against the Assam Police for the series of encounters that have taken place since Sarma took over on May 10.