Man Shot and Killed by Group of Police Forces
Police Open Fire at Locals Protesting Eviction Drive, Two Killed.
The police claimed they had to respond in force after locals attacked them with stones.
Horrific visuals of police brutality have emerged from an eviction drive in the Sipajhar area of Darrang district of Assam on Thursday, showing policemen opening fire at a man and thrashing him.
A photographer, identified as Bijay Shankar Baniya, is also seen assaulting the man, who appears to have a bullet wound in his chest. Baniya is a professional photographer who was hired by the district administration to document the situation and has been arrested, according to reports.
The video shows dozens of policemen firing at unseen targets from behind the trees.
While police initially told that there were no casualties, two people died in the police action. At least 20 people, including policemen, have been injured.
These scenes were witnessed during a drive to evict ‘illegal encroachers’ from land which the state government wants to repossess for a state farming project.
The photographer, Baniya, is seen kicking the person, who is presumably dead. Baniya was led away from the body by a policeman, but returns to attack again. He has been arrested, said PTI.
The administration served an eviction notice to residents of Kirakota Char late on Wednesday night. There was a protest on Thursday morning, after which the administration reportedly “promised that the villagers will be rehabilitated before the eviction”. But when the activists left the area, the police opened fire on the protestors, residents told.
The police said that locals attacked them with stones and that they had to use force. “Nine of our policemen were injured. Two civilians were also injured. They have been shifted to hospital. Now things are normal,” police said.
The eviction drive could not be completed.
The senior Chief Minister of Assam was quoted by Hindustan Times as saying that he had received information, that locals “attacked the police with machetes, spears and other things”.
“Eviction has restarted (after violence) and will continue tomorrow as well,” he told journalists.
Thursday’s eviction drive is the latest in a series carried out in the last three months at Dhalpur, a village that is populated mostly by Muslims of East Bengal origin.
In a massive exercise conducted on Monday, the Assam government claimed to have ‘reclaimed’ 8000 bighas of land, leaving at least 800 families homeless.
The first round of eviction was conducted in June, after which Himanta Biswa Sarma’s cabinet approved the formation of a committee to “utilise 77,000 bighas of government land, freed from encroachers at Gorukhuti, Sipajhar in Darrang, for agricultural purposes.”
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi condemned the police brutality, tweeting, “Assam is on state-sponsored fire”.
“I stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the state – no children of India deserve this,” he added.