The Gauhati High Court on Tuesday asked the Assam principal secretary (home) to file a detailed affidavit within two weeks on the alleged gunfights orchestrated by the state police since the Bharatiya Janata Party came to power last year.
The court issued the directions after hearing a petition filed by Delhi lawyer Arif Jwadder. In December, the advocate had cited media reports saying that over 80 such incidents have taken place in Assam since May. He added that 28 people were killed and 48 were injured in “fake encounters” in this period.
Jwadder had raised questions on the modus operandi of the gunfights as described by the Assam Police. In all of these cases, the police have claimed that they had to retaliate in self defence after accused persons tried to snatch officers’ revolvers.
At Tuesday’s hearing, the advocate general of Assam said that magisterial inquiries were conducted in these cases.
However, senior advocate Indira Jaising, representing the petitioner, told the court that there no such information was available. She asked the court to direct the state government to upload first information reports on its website.
“Detailed counter affidavit to be filed by Secretary (Home) or Additional Secretary (Home) within two weeks,” Jwadder told Scroll.in after the hearing.
The lawyer asked the court to give directions to book the policemen involved in these gunfights for murder. He also sought a judicial inquiry into the shootouts by a sitting judge of the Gauhati High Court and monetary compensation for the families of those killed in the gunfights.
Besides the state government, Jwadder has also named the Assam Police, the state’s Department of Law and Justice, the National Human Rights Commission and the Assam Human Rights Commission as parties in the case.
On January 4, the Gauhati High Court had also asked the Assam government if first information reports have been filed for each of these gunfights, as is mandated by the law.
However, the advocate representing the government had said he did not have the required information.
On December 16, Scroll.in had reported that 31 people have been killed in Assam in alleged encounters since May. This includes Niraj Das, who had been arrested for the lynching of Animesh Bhuyan, a leader of the All Assam Students’ Union.