Other States

Houses of suspects in Assam violence razed

An earthmover during an eviction drive carried out by the administration after incidents of violence in Assam’s Nagaon district on May 22, 2022. The Batadrava police station was set on fire after the alleged custodial death of a person on May 21, 2022.

An earthmover during an eviction drive carried out by the administration after incidents of violence in Assam’s Nagaon district on May 22, 2022. The Batadrava police station was set on fire after the alleged custodial death of a person on May 21, 2022. | Photo Credit: PTI

The authorities in central Assam’s Nagaon district on Sunday demolished the houses of five persons suspected to have been among those who set a police station ablaze on Saturday after the alleged custodial death of a fish trader.

Bulldozers and excavators were used to flatten the houses of the suspected arsonists in the Salbabari area of the district.

Special Director-General of Police G.P. Singh told journalists that investigation revealed some of the suspects had encroached upon land and acquired possession with forged documents. The eviction drive was carried out after a case was registered against them, he said.

The affected people claimed their houses were not illegal structures.

Seven held

Mr. Singh said seven persons involved in torching the Batadrava police station on Saturday were arrested while 15 others were detained. “A special investigation team would be formed and it will be given 45 days to complete the probe and 60 days to submit the charge sheet in court,” he added.

He said the death of 39-year-old Safiqul Islam, the fish trader who allegedly died in police custody leading to the storming and torching of the police station, would be probed by an Additional Superintendent of Police.

The autopsy was conducted and the viscera preserved for forensic investigation. A team from the forensic science laboratory in Guwahati is scheduled to visit the Batadrava police station to find out if petrol or kerosene was used during the mob attack, Mr. Singh said.

Most documents at the police station, several two-wheelers and firearms were destroyed in the fire. The mob also thrashed the police personnel, two of them are in hospital.

Kumud Gogoi, the officer-in-charge of the police station, was suspended while the other personnel were “reserve-closed”. The locals had accused them of torturing Islam to death for not coughing up ₹10,000 and a duck.

‘Organised attack’

Director-General of Police Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta trashed the accusation and said the attack might not have been spontaneous but organised.

“He [Islam] was booked after a medical check-up. The next day, he was released and handed over to his wife. His wife even gave him some water/food. Later, he complained of sickness and he was taken to two hospitals. Unfortunately, he was declared dead,” Mr. Mahanta said.

“The bad elements came in all forms – men, women, young and old. But the preparedness with which they came, the ferocious and organised attack they staged on the police force had made us think deeper,” he said.

“We don’t think these are grieving relatives of the dead, but as we have identified, they were bad characters and their relatives with criminal records. Proof, incrementing evidence — all burnt down. So, [we] don’t think this is a simple action-reaction incident. There is much more to it,” Mr. Mahanta said, warning action against the perpetrators of the crime and any policeman found guilty.


Our code of editorial values

Related Topics
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jun 6, 2022 5:52:57 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/houses-of-people-accused-of-setting-assam-police-station-ablaze-demolished/article65446516.ece