NHRC seeks explanation over Assam shootout

Guwahati, July 3 (IANS) Questioning the authenticity of a shootout in which two people were killed in Assam, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has asked the state government why it should not recommend compensation for the victims’ kin.

A statement issued by the commission says that after going through the material and record placed before it, several loopholes were found in the police theory of a genuine encounter. Thus, the NHRC holds the incident as a grave violation of human rights.

The commission has asked the Assam government to respond to the notice within six weeks, the statement added.

Chandra Tokbi and Ananda Teron were killed by police in an area under the Bokulia police station in Assam’s Karbi Anglong district on May 19, 2010.

However, the police version of bullets being fired from the weapons recovered from Tokbi and Teron during the encounter were not corroborated by an independent report of a ballistic expert, the NHRC statement said.

“There was no report from the fingerprint expert to indicate that the weapons recovered had fingerprints of the victims or gunshot residue was taken from victims’ hands to indicate that they fired the weapons,” said the statement.

It added that the recovered weapons not been properly and individually sealed after the incident meant that their value as evidence was dubious.

“There was no proof that either Chandra Tokbi or Ananda Teron had handled or fired from the weapons because the police did not conduct the essential tests,” it said.

“The timing of the encounter at 3:30 a.m. also raises doubts about the genuineness of the encounter as no night vision devices were recovered from the bodies.”

“The autopsy report of Ananda Teron established that his left leg had a fracture with the dislocation of the femur. It is unlikely that a man of this sort of injury would have been on a hill engaged in an encounter with the police,” the NHRC observed.

Earlier in May this year, the commission had raised doubts about the authenticity of another ‘encounter’ in which Rajib Basumatary (25) of Doimoguri village in Assam’s Sonitpur district was killed on June 23, 2010. The government was directed to pay Rs.5 lakh to the next kin of Basumatary.

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