The Assam Human Rights Commission on Monday directed the state government to complete within one month the inquiry into the killing of four persons during the agitation against the Citizenship Amendment Act last year, the Assam Tribune reported on Tuesday. The order was passed during a hearing on a complaint filed on December 19 last year by Assam Pradesh Congress Committee chief Ripun Bora.

“The complaint was filed on December 19 last year...and on December 23 the AHRC, taking cognizance of the matter, had directed the Chief Secretary to conduct an impartial enquiry and submit report,” Assam Pradesh Congress Committee legal department head Niran Borah said at a press conference in Guwahati.

Borah alleged that while the commission kept providing new dates for the hearing, the state kept asking for more time to complete the inquiry. “After that, the [coronavirus-induced] lockdown started,” he said. “The inquiry report has not yet been submitted. Yesterday the AHRC held a hearing and passed an interim order, wherein specific direction has been issued to the Assam government.”

The commission also directed the jurisdictional deputy commissioners to pay Rs 3 lakh compensation to the kin of Iswar Nayak and Abdul Alim, two of the deceased, if the inquiry was not completed. It also asked the commissioners to pay Rs 2 lakh to the relatives of Dipanjal Das and Sems Staford, the other two deceased, within a month.

“In the event of the inquiries having been completed in the interregnum and if all or any of the deceased are found innocent, the ex gratia payment due to the next of kin of all or any of the deceased so found innocent be paid within one month from the date of receipt of this judgement,” the panel said.

Borah added that the Assam Human Rights Commission has received a report from the additional district magistrate of Dibrugarh, about the death of a fifth person, Dwijendra Panging, during the violence. “Late Dwijendra Panging was out on the street during the time of curfew,” the order said. “Circumstantial evidence points to the fact that he might be handled during use of force by security forces deployed on law and order duty. But due to lack of evidence and due to denial of the family for postmortem of the body of Late Dwijendra Panging, it is difficult to ascertain the exact reasons of the death.”

Borah said the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee wass likely to file a writ petition in the Gauhati High Court against the findings of the inquiry into Panging’s death, if any of his relatives come forward.

At least 28 people had died in protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act last year, including 19 in Uttar Pradesh and five in Assam.