Assam Police suspends officer for firing at ex-student leader, transfers SP

Guwahati, Feb 9 (PTI) After suspending a sub-inspector and disbanding the Anti-Narcotics Squad of Nagaon district, Assam Police on Wednesday shunted SP Anand Mishra out of the district following a probe in the police firing on a former student leader, who was accused of drug peddling, according to a notification.

The late night notification from the state Home & Political Department said Mishra was transferred with immediate effect.

“In the interest of public service, Shri Anand Mishra, IPS, Superintendent of Police, Nagaon, is transferred and attached to Assam Police Headquarter, Ulubari, until further orders,” the order issued by Home & Political Department Principal Secretary Niraj Verma said.

It also stated that the Additional SP has been given the temporary charge of the SP in the district.

The police are also in the process of completing the paperwork to transfer the 10 personnel of the disbanded squad out of Nagaon district, in accordance with the recommendations of Paban Kumar Borthakur, the state’s Additional Chief Secretary who conducted the probe.

“After getting directions from the Home and Political Department, Sub Inspector Pradeep Bania was suspended yesterday. We also disbanded the Anti-Narcotics Squad constituted by the Nagaon SP,” a senior police official told PTI on condition of anonymity.

In his report, Borthakur had recommended transfer of all members of the squad and Bania out of Nagaon district immediately.

“Besides, we are preparing all related documents to shift the case to the CID of Assam Police. The government directed us to transfer the two cases filed by Bania and constable Nilkamal Bora to the CID,” the official said.

He, however, insisted the recommendations made by Borthakur in the report did not mean that police were at fault. The recommendations were aimed at facilitating a “free, fair and just probe by a senior official”.

According to an official release on Tuesday, the Assam government had asked the state’s DGP to order conduct of a departmental inquiry by a senior police officer into the role of all policemen involved in the firing incident which led to injury to a former student leader at Kacholukhowa Tiniali in Nagaon town.

The DGP was also asked to ensure safety and security of witnesses and take measures for creating awareness among people against drug abuse.

Kirti Kamal Bora, who was alleged to have been involved in drug peddling, was injured in police firing on January 22, the incident opposition parties and social groups called an effect of the prevailing “police jungle raj”.

They alleged the situation was worse than those prevailing in the 1990s when “secret killings” were rampant. The term ‘secret killings’ refers to the extra-judicial killings in which masked gunmen, suspected personnel of the security forces, used to kill the kin of ULFA leaders.

Police, however, claimed that the former Nowgong College students union general secretary was selling drugs and was shot in the leg after he attacked law enforcers. Disputing the claim, the influential All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) alleged Bora was fired upon after he protested “drunk policemen” beating up a youth.

Facing public anger, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had on January 23 announced a one-man commission of Borthakur to probe the circumstances leading to the police firing.

The Assam Human Rights Commission (AHRC) took cognizance of the incident on its own, and issued a notice to the state’s chief secretary on January 24, asking why the government should not pay a compensation to the injured youth.

Based on media reports, the AHRC called it “prima facie” a case of violation of human rights. The Commission has fixed February 28 for the next hearing.

The Assam government had claimed in an affidavit before the Gauhati High Court on February 7 that due process of law and all guidelines issued by the NHRC were being followed in all cases of police encounter that have taken place in the state since May last year.

The Assam government informed the court that 28 people have been killed and 73 others injured in police action since May 10 last year, when Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma assumed charge, till January 28 this year.