Two alleged cow smugglers were killed in a gunfight in Assam’s Kokrajhar district on Tuesday, reported the Pratidin Time. Four police officials were also injured in the gunfight.
The alleged smugglers have been identified as Akbar Banjara and Salman Banjara, both residents of Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut city.
Since the Himanta Biswa Sarma-led government assumed power in Assam in May, 46 people have been killed and at least 108 injured in police firing while allegedly fleeing from custody or attacking police officers.
The police claimed that Akbar Banjara and Salman Banjara ran an international smuggling racket and a reward of Rs 2 lakh had been announced for their arrest. The Meerut Police had arrested the accused men a week ago and had handed them over to Assam officers, reported Hindi daily Hindustan.
An Assam Police official told PTI that militants fired at a police team when it took the the two men to Kokrajhar’s Jamduar area on Tuesday morning to identify smuggling routes. The officer said that the two accused men jumped out of the police vehicle and took cover at a nearby spot.
The police personnel retaliated to the firing and the gunfight continued for 10-12 minutes, the officer said.
“The two cattle smugglers were hit by bullets during the militant ambush,” he told the news agency. “They were declared dead on being taken to Saraibeel Primary Health Centre in another vehicle.”
The injured police personnel have also been admitted to a hospital.
The officer said that during their interrogation, Akbar Banjara and Salman Banjara had given information about cattle smuggling from Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, West Bengal and Assam to Bangladesh through Meghalaya.
“The duo divulged that fundamentalist militant organisations based in Bangladesh were involved in this racket and the money from this trade was being used for anti-India activities,” the police officer said. “Some of the money, they said, also found its way to militant outfits of Assam and Meghalaya.”