The Congress has gone on the offensive over the police firing during an eviction drive in Assam’s Darrang district on Thursday, which left two people dead.
The police had gone to evict ‘encroachers’ from Sipajhar in Darrang, following which clashes broke out, leaving 20 injured. Footage of the violence showed a man slinging a camera hitting a motionless man. The perpetrator was identified as Bijay Shankar Baniya, a professional photographer hired by the district administration to document the situation. Baniya was arrested.
The state government announced a judicial inquiry into the circumstances leading to the incident amid mounting public anger. An order issued by the Home and Political Department’s Secretary Debaparasad Misra said the government has decided the inquiry will be conducted by a retired judge of the Gauhati High Court.
Darrang Superintendent of Police Sushanta Biswa Sarma, a younger brother of Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, claimed the protesters, armed with sharp weapons, pelted the police personnel and others present with stones. Police initially fired in the air to disperse the protesters but failed, forcing the men in uniform to fire at people, killing two and injuring at least ten others. Around 10 more, including policemen, were also injured in clashes.
The Congress has demanded action against Sushanta Biswa Sarma. Ripun Bora, Rajya Sabha MP and former chief of the Assam Congress unit, tweeted on Friday demanding the immediate transfer of the Darrang deputy commissioner and SP Sushanta Biswa Sarma. Bora tweeted, “Due to public outcry
@mygovassam ordered Judicial enquiry under a rtd. Judge of GHC to enquire into #PoliceBrutality of Dholpur. We demand the IMMEDIATE TRANSFER of the DC & SP(being CM’s own brother) of Darrang Dist. for transparency in the enquiry.”
Lok Sabha MP Gaurav Gogoi also referred to the relationship between the SP and chief minister and alleged the duo “did not want a peaceful resolution to the eviction drive”. Gaurav Gogoi tweeted, “The Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma’s own brother is the Superintendent Police of the Darrang district where the barbaric violence took place. It is clear that this CM-SP duo did not want a peaceful resolution to the eviction drive. The CM continues to bring shame to Assam.”
Assam Congress chief Bhupen Kumar Borah demanded the “immediate suspension” of the deputy commissioner and SP.
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