The Assam government has ordered a judicial inquiry into the incident of violence that took place during the eviction drive at Sipajhar in Darang district on Thursday as police tried to evict “encroachers”. At least two people were killed in police firing during clashes and around 20 injured.
A shocking video also surfaced where an apparently dead man with a bullet wound on his chest lay motionless but was still hit by a man slinging a camera. News18 could not independently verify the video.
Darrang Superintendent of Police Sushanta Biswa Sarma, a younger brother of Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, claimed the protesters, armed with sharp weapons, pelted the police personnel and others present with stones.Police initially fired in air to disperse the protesters but failed, forcing the men in uniform to fire at people, killing two and injuring at least ten others. Around 10 more, including policemen, were also injured in clashes.
The incident drew condemnation, with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi calling the police action “state-sponsored fire”. The public protest had erupted over the demand for rehabilitation of nearly 800 families evicted from the land they were living on for decades.
Meanwhile, a purported video of the incident has gone viral on social media where a photographer is seen kicking a person, presumably dead. The video shows hundreds of policemen firing at unseen targets from behind the trees, and a man in vest and lungi running on a dusty street. A photographer ran behind him until the time the men in uniform surrounded the man as gunshots rang in the background.
The photographer was seen being led out by a policeman, but soon returned, jumped over his body, and hit him with something he had picked up lying close by. The man’s left arm lifted momentarily, before he lay still, with a red circle of blood from a bullet wound on his chest, and a ‘Gomosa’, the traditional stole associated with Assamese pride, lying crumpled beside him. Bijay Shankar Baniya, a professional photographer, hired by the district administration to document the situation, has been arrested. The injured included eight policemen. Assistant Sub-Inspector Moniruddin is admitted to the Gauhati Medical College Hospital in a critical condition.The dead have been identified as Saddam Hussain and Sheikh Forid.
(With PTI inputs)