NHRC directs Dibrugarh SP to expedite probe into Lokhi Wangsu’s death

ITANAGAR, 28 May: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Tuesday directed the Dibrugarh (Assam) SP to expedite the investigation into the death of Lokhi Wangsu, a native of Ngaitong in Tirap district of Arunachal Pradesh, and submit the updated status of the case within eight weeks.

Wangsu was allegedly fatally shot by personnel of the Assam forest battalion in Dibrugarh district when he was searching for his lost domestic cow in the Towang reserved forest area on 18 September last year.

The NHRC stated that it received an updated status report from the SP in February this year.

“As per the report,” the NHRC stated, “the IO has collected PMR and seized evidence. The ballistic report, viscera report, etc, are still awaited from FSL, Assam.”

“It is evident that the investigation in both the filed FIRs was under progress by local police,” the NHRC said.

In the earlier report, which was submitted on 16 November, 2023, the Dibrugarh SP had informed the commission that two FIRs had been registered in the matter of the death of one person in firing by forest officials “on the basis of written information provided by the range forest officer of Joypur, and a complaint from the father of the deceased.”

Meanwhile, the commission said that it has taken “serious note of the non-responsive attitude of the Assam’s environment & forest additional chief secretary and the principal chief conservator of forest” to a directive issued by the commission to submit a detailed report on Wangsu’s death, and issued another directive to them to submit the same within eight weeks.

“No report is received from the forest department, despite direction and a reminder. The commission takes this seriously,” the NHRC said.

It stated that “coercive action u/s 13 PHR Act, 1993 may be initiated against the officials for being non-responsive to the directions of the commission.”

The NHRC had in December last year issued a reminder to them in connection with the case.