The Assam Police have registered two first information reports against policemen and district officials of Darrang district. The FIRs were based on complaints filed by family members of two civilians killed during an eviction drive in Sipajhar area on September 23.
The policemen and district officials have been booked for murder based on complaints filed by the kin of the two victims, 33-year-old Moinul Haque and 12-year-old Sheikh Farid. The complaints were filed on October 6 and 7, two weeks after the violence during the eviction drive occurred.
Haque and Farid had died in Sipajhar after the Assam Police opened fire on local residents protesting against the eviction.
In his complaint, Ainuddin, a cousin of Haque, said that the victim was moving his belongings to another location as they had been served a notice for the eviction drive.
“Without any reason, the deployed policemen started firing at the crowd that caused a bedlam,” the complaint stated, according to a report in India Ahead. “Seeing the sudden eruption of chaos, an agitated Haque came towards an area where the police were deployed. Instead of apprehending Haque by any other means, deployed police personnel shot him which led to his death.”
Ainuddin also said that a photographer of the district administration stomped on Haque’s body even though he was already injured. He also alleged that a deputy commissioner of police, Darrang’s superintendent of police and a deputy inspector general of police were present when the entire incident took place.
A video widely circulated after the incident had showed policemen opening fire and then falling upon a protestor who was running towards them with a stick. A few seconds later, he lay motionless on the ground, apparently shot in the chest.
Amir Hussain, Farid’s brother, also filed a complaint. Hussain said that Farid was walking to the local post office to collect his Aadhaar card when a bullet fired by a policeman hit him, leading to his death.
Notably, in a general first information report filed on September 24, the Assam Police had stated that Haque and Farid were shot at after a large crowd protesting the eviction became violent and attacked police officials.
The general FIR filed by the Assam Police stated that Haque was first taken to a local dispensary in Moluwa Ghat by some health workers, and later to Sipajhar Hospital, where he was declared dead on arrival. The police, in its FIR, had said that they had learned later about Farid’s death.
Olindita Gogoi, an additional superintendent of Assam Police, had filed the FIR, according to India Ahead. She had alleged that the police had to resort to firing to control the crowd on September 23 as the protestors grew agitated despite several pleas to maintain law and order.
Saddam Hussain, the counsel for family members of the victims, told India Ahead that the victims’ families had delayed filing complaints against the police and the district administration primarily because they were scared.
“After witnessing the untimely deaths of their loved ones and the destruction of the homesteads because of the eviction process by the government, the families of the victims are terrified and terrorised to even step out of their village,” Hussain told the news website.
So far, the Assam Police have arrested three people in the case on charges of instigating violence.
Meanwhile, earlier this month, the Assam Human Rights Commission had held that the violence amounted to a prima facie case of human rights violation.
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