Nine people have been shot while trying to resist arrest or flee from police custody
Opposition parties in Assam have slammed Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma for allegedly “encouraging and normalising” shooting by police to check crime.
At least 11 alleged extremists and criminals have been killed in encounters with security forces in the State since May. Nine people accused of various crimes have also been shot in the leg during this period while trying to flee from police custody or resist arrest.
“It is shameful that the Chief Minister has been encouraging such tactics of the police. We are not against catching an accused, but the way police are dealing with them is gross human rights violation,” Raijor Dal president Akhil Gogoi, who was released from prison after 18 months, told journalists on Thursday.
Addressing a meeting of the officers-in-charge of police stations across Assam on July 5, Dr. Sarma said it was within the law to shoot a criminal in the leg if they tried to escape from custody.
“This should be the pattern if someone who is a rapist tries to flee after snatching arms from police or someone who tries to escape while re-creating a scene of crime,” he said.
Criticising the “bid to turn Assam into a police State”, Mr. Gogoi appealed to human rights activists and intellectuals to start a movement against the “encounter” trend.
Congress leader Debabrata Saikia was also critical of the “trigger-happy” police.
“If criminals are trying to escape from police custody, it shows the police are being lax,” he said.
The police said three people shot in the leg while escaping were cattle smugglers, two each were drug peddlers and rapists of minor girls, one was a dacoit, and one a policeman involved in a case of abduction.
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