Guwahati,Jul 13(PTI) The Assam Human Rights Commission (AHRC), taking suo moto cognisance of media reports, has asked the state government to institute an inquiry into the circumstances that led to the death and injury of 12 persons in police encounters over the past two months.
AHRC member Naba Kamal Bora, in an order, noted that news reports have pointed out all the accused were unarmed and in handcuffs during the police firing.
He also stated that firing upon an accused when in police custody or during a chase should not be made a trend.
Considering the "gravity of the situation", the commission has directed the state government's principal secretary of the home and political department to institute an inquiry to find out the facts and circumstances leading to the death and injuries of the 12 accused, said the order, which was made available to the reporters on Tuesday.
The commission has asked the principal secretary to submit the probe report by August 17.
Earlier, a Delhi-based lawyer from Assam, Arif Jwadder, had filed a complaint with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) against the Assam Police for the series of encounters that have taken place since Himanta Biswa Sarma took over as chief minister on May 10.
He had urged the NHRC to take note of these incidents and call for an inquiry.
Justifying the encounters, Sarma had on July 5 said that shooting at criminals "should be the pattern" if they attempt to escape from custody or try to snatch guns from the police to fire at them.
Opposition parties have, however, decried the recent incidents of firing, with state Congress chief Ripun Bora saying that the CM's statement has "dangerous ramifications", and that if this practice of encounters is not checked Assam may soon become a "police state".