Leader of Opposition in Assam and senior Congress leader Debabrata Saikia has urged the Assam Human Rights Commission (AHRC) to hold chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma-led BJP government in the state accountable for the unprecedented numbers of police encounters that took place in the state since May 2021. 

Debabrata Saikia, in a letter to the AHRC, has claimed that over 80 encounters took place and over 30 accused were killed, besides several others sustaining injuries in police firings, ever since the current BJP-government came to power in Assam in May last year. 

In his letter to the chairman of the Assam Human Rights Commission (AHRC), Congress leader Debabrata Saikia said that the Commission must intervene and conduct an inquiry into police encounters to safeguard the Constitution. 

“We have a legal system to deal with all types of crimes. But this growing tendency of the police to deliver justice through encounters is not a good indication. We urge you to hold the Assam government accountable for police encounters,” Debabrata Saikia stated in his letter. 

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Saikia further accused Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma of publicly supporting the police in regards to encounters in the state. 

The Congress leader also questioned the version of the police that it put out in public every time after an encounter. 

Saikia said: “…the men in uniform had to fire in each encounter case when suspected criminals tried to escape from custody or snatch weapons from policemen.” 

“In several cases, local people had said suspects killed or injured in police firings were not involved in any criminal activity,” he added. 

“Everyone wants a crime-free state, but no one should be targeted for it,” Saikia further said. 

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Notably, the AHRC had taken suo motu action on the alleged fake encounters and asked for a report from the state government. 

Altogether 32 people have been killed and at least 68 injured in the police action since the Himanta Biswa Sarma government assumed office in May 2021. 

Meanwhile, the Assam government has sought more time from the Gauhati high court to file affidavit in regards to alleged “fake encounters” by the Assam Police since May 2021.  

The Assam government has sought a 10-day additional time to submit the affidavit in the case. 

Notably, the Gauhati high court had directed the Assam government to file an affidavit within two weeks in connection with the case. 

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The Assam government was ordered by the high court to file an affidavit in the case following a PIL being filed by a Delhi-based lawyer, seeking an order for the registration of an FIR in the alleged “fake encounters” in Assam. 

The matter has been listed for hearing next on February 8. 

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