PUDR is concerned at the alleged encounter killing by a joint team of Assam Police, CRPF and Indian Army in which four alleged armed cadres of the Upper Assam Leading Committee of CPI (Maoist) were killed on 9 May at Borgora-Deopani Nepali Gaon under the Saidya police station. We are all the more concerned because PUDR members recently visited Saidya as part of a fact finding organised by Coordination of Democratic Rights Organisations.
The family members of the deceased and the residents of the area have claimed that the four youths – Siddhartha Buragohain (Telikola village, Sadiya), Medang Gogoi alias Rajib Gogoi (Topsinga village), Hiren Chetia alias Rajat (Tokajan village) and Kamala Buragohain (No.2 Tokajan village) – all between 25 to 30 years, were killed in a 'fake encounter'. As per the news reports in the local media which referred to the testimonies of the villagers, this was nothing but a cold-blooded murder which was later staged as an ‘encounter’. The police found the four youth taking food and there was no resistance from the unarmed youth. Subsequently all four were shot by the police from point-blank range and killed in cold blood. Not a single soldier was injured in this 'encounter' which was said to be a 'fierce gun battle'.
This encounter is one among several thousand such custodial killings by the Indian security forces and the Assam Police in the name of ‘counter-insurgency’ operations directed against United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), HUJI where Muslim youth have been targeted and other proscribed organisations since 1990. IN 2011 in Kakopathar block of Tinsukhia district alone eleven persons were killed in staged encounter. Four months back in December 2011, three youths – Siva Moran, Dhiraj Duara and Janak Moran of Makum, Tinsukia district – were detained for being suspected ULFA cadres and then killed in the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border by the Army and the police. While FIRs have been registered no investigation has ensued into the killing by the state government. Indeed it is an unbroken record of Assam government that not a single Indian armed forces personnel has been brought to justice and punished for cold blooded murders in the name of maintaining 'internal security'. The consequences of the impunity with which armed forces of the union or armed units of state police operate are inevitable and forebode evil for any democratic culture.
All these are taking place in an atmosphere and in places where there is large-scale and democratically expressed resentment towards governments’ decisions to build large dams.
PUDR is alarmed at this descent to lawlessness and blood-letting.
Paramjeet Singh and Preeti Chauhan