GUWAHATI, Nov 28 - The Justice (retd) Hareswar Baruah Commission of Inquiry into the police firing at Dalgaon in Darrang district on October 10, 2011, in its report, stated that the officers of the district administration could have dispersed the mob by applying methods other than firing had they intelligently handled the situation.
The inquiry report was placed in the State Assembly on Thursday. Four persons were killed on that day when police opened fire to disperse a crowd of agitating jute farmers who were protesting lack of remunerative prices.
�No evidence was forthcoming to show that the firing at the mob became so imminent. The officers, the circle officer-cum-executive magistrate in particular, SR Bora, failed to gauge the circumstances, nature, and the character of the assembly of the farmers. The Commission is of the view that firing at the mob was not justified at all when other police actions can be held justified,� it said.
The government in its action taken note said that disciplinary action was initiated against Bora, then circle officer, Dalgaon, and Fakhrul Islam, then DSP (HQ), Darrang.
To another term of reference, the Commission said that no person or organisation could be held responsible for the violence preceding the police firing. �Evidence on record only go to show that on account of offering of very low price for jute taken for sale to the market on that day, i.e., 10/10/2011 which was far below the previous market rate, some violence erupted on NH-52 at Besimari weekly market. However, this cannot certainly hold any person or organisation responsible for the incident. The reference is therefore, answered in negative by the Commission,� it said.
On the lapse on the part of the authorities, the Commission held that besides Bora and Islam, Vivek Raj Singh, then SP of Darrang, exhibited lapse on their part and suggested the government take action against the erring officers.
The Commission further stated that in order to prevent recurrence of similar incidents in future, the district administration should identify the sensitive areas where there is possibility of rioting on various issues among the people and that adequate police force should be deployed in such areas for maintenance of law and order under supervision of an officer not below the rank of a sub-inspector.
�Government should post senior dynamic intelligence officers under whose administrative jurisdiction such places fall. Bazars, haats, ghats, etc., are to be manned by adequate police force. Police station with adequate police force with necessary combating equipment should be established in the area,� it recommended.