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Police encounters continue in Assam; two dacoits killed

Police encounters continue in Assam; two dacoits killed

Photo: Twitter

Goalpara, Aug 29: Two suspected dacoits were killed and another was injured in a police encounter in Assam's Goalpara district, an officer said on Sunday.

The incident took place near Goalpara town late on Saturday night when five armed robbers opened fire on a team of policemen and tried to escape from there, he said. Since the second BJP-led government assumed power three months ago, at least 23 suspected militants and criminals were killed and 35 others injured in police encounters in the state as they allegedly tried to snatch service weapons or attempted to escape from custody.

Acting on a tip-off, the group of police personnel started chasing a car carrying the armed robbers from Rongsai area but the dacoits fired on the police vehicle and moved towards Goalpara town, the officer said. They got off their vehicle in Gobindapur-1 area and tried to flee the spot after the policemen fired at their four-wheeler to stop them.

"They again opened fire and we retaliated. Two were shot dead in the encounter and one suffered bullet injuries. Two others managed to escape from the spot," the officer said.

The injured person, who initially fled the encounter site, was caught by the local people and handed over to the police, he said. The accused is currently undergoing treatment at Goalpara Civil Hospital, the officer said, adding that one died on the spot, and the body of the other deceased was found this morning at a nearby place.

A rising number of police encounters, which have seen several suspected insurgents and criminals being shot dead as they "tried to escape" from custody since May, has whipped up a political furore in Assam. The opposition parties alleged that the Assam Police turned "trigger happy" under the Himanta Biswa Sarma-led regime, and "open killings" by the police have been going on in the name of encounters.

Unfazed by criticism of his government over recent encounter killings, Sarma had on July 15 said in the assembly that the state police has "full operational liberty" to fight against the criminals within the ambit of law. At a face-to-face meeting with officers-in-charge (OCs) of all the police stations of Assam on July 5, Sarma had said that shooting at criminals "should be the pattern" if they attempt to escape from custody or try to snatch arms from the police to open fire.

Taking suo moto cognisance, the Assam Human Rights Commission (AHRC) had on July 7 asked the state government to institute an inquiry into the circumstances that led to the death and injury of the accused in the recent police encounters.

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