Guwahati: The Gauhati High Court on Friday asked the Assam government to file the updated investigation report on every police encounter case since May 2021 within six weeks.

While hearing a petition filed by Delhi-based lawyer Arif Jwadder, the high court also sought to know if any independent investigation into these cases was being done or had been completed, The Hindu reported.

Appearing for the petitioner virtually from Delhi, lawyer Prashant Bhushan argued that the police did not follow the law laid down by the Supreme Court in the 2014 case of People’s Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL) versus Maharashtra on alleged fake encounters

Bhusan pointed out that the Assam government did not follow the Supreme Court’s guidelines on conducting independent probes in all cases of encounters.

A total of 161 incidents of police action took place across Assam within 13 months after Himanta Biswa Sarma took charge as the Chief Minister in May 2021.

The Assam government had earlier submitted before the court that 51 people died and 139 were injured in the encounters till May 21, 2022.

Three more deaths were included when the State government filed an affidavit on June 20, as sought by the High Court.

“We received FIRs in 41 cases and each was against the deceased victim. According to the guidelines in the PUCL cases, there should be separate. FIRs by an independent probe team. We received none, indicating there has been no independent investigation,” The Hindu quoted Jwadder as saying.

He said such encounters should be probed by independent agencies such as the CBI, Special Investigation Team (SIT) or any police team from another State or district or police station under the supervision of the court.

Jwadder said the dead or injured persons were not extremists and it was implausible that all the dead or injured accused — as noted by the police — were able to snatch a service revolver from a trained police officer.

The High Court posted the matter for further hearing on September 29.

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