AAMSU appeals to HC CJ for judicial inquiry into ‘extrajudicial’ killings in Assam

Guwahati, Jun1 (PTI) The All Assam Minorities Students’ Union (AAMSU) has written to the Chief Justice of Gauhati High Court appealing for a judicial inquiry into the May 21 custodial death leading to the torching of the Batadrava police station and the subsequent death of the prime accused in a road accident in Nagaon district.

It has also sought judicial inquiry in other alleged “extrajudicial killings” in the state.

An extrajudicial killing is the killing of a person by governmental authorities without the sanction of any judicial proceeding or legal process.

AAMSU general secretary Imtiaz Hussain in a letter to the chief justice said that the family members of Safiqul Islam, who had died in custody on May 21, had alleged that he had been arrested in the night without any FIR and died as he was beaten up by the police for non-payment of bribe.

The letter claimed that the administration’s version that the man was unwell and died in custody on May 21 is unacceptable and is a part of the modus operandi adopted by the Assam Police in several other “extrajudicial killings” that took place in the state last year.

After Islam’s death a mob had stormed the police station and burnt it down. It led to the authorities demolishing the houses of those allegedly involved in the incident, including that of Islam on May 22 claiming that they were encroachers who had settled on government land.

The letter said destroying the house of a citizen and using bulldozers for it is an “illegal act, arbitrary, undemocratic and unconstitutional to the core”. Moreover torturing the family members of the alleged offenders and forcing them along with young children to live in the open without food and a roof over them is an extreme violation of human rights guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, it said.

The custodial death, destruction of houses by using bulldozers and subsequent extrajudicial killing is unconstitutional, arbitrary, against the virtues of a civilized society and an extreme violation of human rights as well as the other rights conferred by the Constitution and other laws, the AAMSU leader said in the letter.

”This is a challenge to the principles of Rule of law and the duties of a welfare state which will give rise to a military state which is against the spirit of our much hailed democracy all over the globe and we appeal for the redressal of the grievances and for the ends of justice that has been denied”, the letter said.

”We urged the Chief Justice to take necessary steps and appropriate measures by ordering a judicial enquiry in the entire matter and take strict action against those guilty of violating the human rights as guaranteed under the Constitution of India and for challenging the Rule of Law by”, Hussain said later.

The AAMSU sent similar letters to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Assam Human Rights Commission (AHRC) and the National Commission for Minorities urging for an inquiry into the alleged violation of human rights by the police administration in the state.

Family members of Islam, who was a fish seller, and villagers had alleged that the police had demanded Rs 10,000 and a duck to release him. The family members claimed that they were ready to give the duck but as they did not have the money, the police beat him up leading to his death.

A Special Investigation Team had been set up to monitor the investigations into incident.

The AAMSU leader said the subsequent death of Ashiqul Islam, who was alleged to have been a part of the mob that set ablaze the police station, is actually a part of the many extra judicial killings that took place over the last year and the story put forward by the administration alleging that he had tried to escape from the vehicle and was hit by another police vehicle is unacceptable.

”The question remains why Ashiqul, who had surrendered on his own, will try to escape. Secondly, why a criminal was not handcuffed and was allowed to sit on the edge of the vehicle facilitating him to jump. Actually the modus-operandi adopted to kill Ashiqul Islam was also adopted in the earlier cases of extra judicial killings by the Assam Police over the last year”, he said.

At least 48 people have been killed and 116 injured in police action while allegedly trying to flee police custody or attacking law enforcers since the Himanta Biswa Sarma government came to power in May last year.