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September 22, 2021

Assam government orders inquiry into Bodoland encounter

Assam government on Tuesday ordered an inquiry into the killing of two alleged United Liberation of Bodoland (ULB) militants by policemen, a day after a 12-hour bandh to protest the death brought life in the four districts of the Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR) to a standstill.

An order issued by Assam government said Divisional Commissioner of Lower Assam Jayant Narlikar has been directed to inquire into the circumstances leading to the death of two suspected ULB militants in an encounter with the police at Ultapani in Kokrajhar district on September 18.

Narlikar was tasked to submit the report within 15 days.

The killing of the two suspected militants evoked wide-spread protests in the BTR with a 12-hour bandh called by All Bodo Peoples (ABP) shutting down normal life in the region on Monday.

Several political and non-political organizations and leaders have strongly condemned the killings, claiming the encounter was ”staged” and the youths killed were innocent.

Bodoland Peoples” Front (BPF) Chief Hagrama Mohilary on Tuesday appealed to Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma to initiate a high level probe by the CBI into the encounter in the “interest of peace and tranquility” in the BTR.

He also appealed to the ULB leadership to refrain from violent activities to prevent loss of life and property.

””I appeal to the UBL leadership to restrain from retaliatory activities or planting of bombs, which might further escalate the situation in Bodoland region””, the former Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) Chief said.

The police had claimed on Saturday that two suspected militants of a newly formed outfit, United Liberation of Bodoland (ULB) had been killed and their camp busted while two pistols and grenades were recovered from the encounter site.

Assam has witnessed a series of “encounters” since the present BJP government, led by Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma assumed office on May 10, with many alleged militants and criminals being shot dead or injured while allegedly trying to flee from custody . The opposition has alleged the state police has become ””trigger-happy””. The Chief Minister however, has supported police action and said Assam police had ‘full operational liberty’ to fight criminals “within the ambit of law”.

In all, 26 accused have been killed so far and 42 others injured when police fired on them claiming that they had tried to escape from custody in the last four-and-half-months. PTI

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