Guwahati: A suspected arms dealer, who was arrested along with an accomplice, died in a police encounter in Assam’s Karimganj district when he allegedly tried to flee custody, an officer said on Tuesday.
With this incident, the toll due to purported police encounters in the state rose to 21 since the new BJP-led government under Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma assumed charge in May, while at least 31 people were injured as they allegedly attempted to escape from police custody.
According to the police officer, the suspect, Nurul Islam, was being taken to Niralagaon in Badarpur on Monday night in search of one more of his accomplices when he allegedly tried to escape.
Police had to open fire on Islam, who died after sustaining bullet injuries, the officer added.
Islam was arrested along with another suspected arms dealer by a joint team of the police and the BSF in Badarpur on Monday. Four 7.65 mm pistols along with magazines and one pen pistol were recovered from their possession.
The frequent police encounters in the state have prompted opposition parties to allege that the Assam Police has turned trigger happy under the Himanta Biswa Sarma government.
A section of the civil society has also accused the police of indulging in “open killings”.
The CM has, however, maintained that the state police has “full operational liberty” to fight against the criminals within the ambit of law.
Taking suo moto cognisance of the encounters, the Assam Human Rights Commission (AHRC) had on July 7 asked the state government to institute an enquiry into the circumstances that led to the death and injury of the accused in police encounters since May.
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.