The National Human Rights Commission has sought a report from Udalguri Superintendent of Police Longnit Terong and the deputy commissioner of police about firing by security forces at a village near Kalaigaon in Assam on July 6, The Telegraph reported on Friday. The NHRC passed the order while hearing a petition by activist Sailen Kumar Sharma.

The petition alleged that the family members of a 58-year-old school teacher, Jadav Sahariah, were performing rituals at their house in Ganakpara village, when residents of the area raised a hue and cry, apprehending that a child sacrifice was being carried out. The security forces intervened, but after failing to pacify Sahariah’s family members, opened fire with automatic assault rifles. Sahariah’s son was killed in the firing, while Sahariah was injured along with a 15-year-old relative.

Witnesses alleged that the family had attempted to attack the security forces personnel at the spot with machetes and axes. Following this, an executive magistrate asked the security forces to open fire, an order they complied with.

The petitioner, who runs a non-governmental organisation known as Human Rights Forum, expressed concern over the “arbitrary act of the executive magistrate and incapacity of the police help counteract the situation”. He sought exemplary punishment for those guilty and compensation for the family.

The Udalguri deputy commissioner had ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident by Bhergaon Sub-Divisional Officer (Civil) Gakul Chandra Brahma. “I have submitted my findings to the deputy commissioner,” Brahma said.

Meanwhile, Bhergaon Sub-divisional Police Officer Nirmal Ghosh said the Sahariah family attacked members of the police, locals and journalists with stones and an axe. After trying to pacify the family for two hours, the security forces used water cannons. When this failed to bring the situated under control, they resorted to firing in the air and below the knee, Ghosh said.

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