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Three suspected dacoits were shot dead as they tried to rob a bank in Assam”s Kokrajhar district, police said on Sunday.

The incident happened on Saturday at Chengmari near Bhotgaon, Director-General of Police Bhaskarjyoti Mahanta said.

The dacoits opened fire on the police on being intercepted, he said.

In retaliatory firing by the police, three dacoits were injured and they later succumbed, he added.

“Operation was on till late night to flush out rest of the dacoits,” Mahanta said.

Vehicles, tools, gas cutters, two pistols along with oxygen cylinders were recovered, the state police chief said.

Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma lauded the efforts of the state police in preventing the bank robbery.

“A robbery gang was neutralised by Assam Police in Kokrajhar. This prevented a big bank robbery,” he said.

Sarma also appreciated the Assam Police for nabbing 15 alleged Taliban supporters on Saturday from different parts of the state.

“Assam has to be crime-free. Murder, violence, hatred — these all have to be eliminated from the state. And we will continue to work till we achieve our goal,” he added.

The death toll in purported police encounters in the state rose to 20 with this incident, while 31 persons were injured as they allegedly attempted to escape from custody since the new BJP-led government under Sarma assumed charge in May. PTI

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