Police encounters unabated in Assam, another drug dealer injured

Tezpur (Assam), Sep 20 (PTI) A suspected drug dealer was injured in police firing when he allegedly tried to escape from custody in Sonitpur district of Assam, a senior official said on Monday.

According to Sonitpur SP Dhananjay P Ghanawat, police arrested three people with 136 containers of heroin worth Rs 3 lakh on Sunday night from Khanamukh godown ghat in the district.

During preliminary interrogation, one of the accused agreed to lead a team to recover arms from their hiding, he said.

“When the police team went with him to seize the arms, the accused tried to escape from custody taking advantage of the darkness. Left with no option, police took a shot at his leg. He has been taken to Tezpur Medical College and Hospital for treatment,” Ghanawat said.

At least 26 suspected militants and criminals have so far been shot dead in encounters in the state since May, as they reportedly tried to snatch service weapons or attempted to escape from custody, while 42 accused were injured along with a few policemen.

The rising number of shootouts has whipped up a political furore with the opposition alleging that the Assam Police has turned “trigger happy”, and is indulging in “open killings” under the Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma-led regime, which assumed charge on May 10.

Unfazed by criticism of his government over the recent encounter killings, Sarma had on July 15 said in the assembly that the state police has “full operational liberty” to fight against criminals within the ambit of law.