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Assam orders judicial probe into villager's killing
K Anurag in Guwahati | April 25, 2008 10:53 IST
Faced with massive public protests over a recent botched counter-insurgency operation carried out by its police along with a surrendered United Liberation Front of Asom militant that led to killing of an innocent elderly villager, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has ordered judicial inquiry into the incident to fix responsibility for the crime.
A source in the chief minister's office informed that the judicial inquiry would continue simultaneously along with the investigation that was being carried out by the Additional Chief Secretary of the State Alok Party.
Gogoi has made it clear that no official would be spared if found guilty of intentional killing of 'any innocent person' in the name of counter-insurgency operation in general.
The elderly villager Dulen Baruah, a caretaker of a Vaishnavite shrine in Himpora village near Moranhat in Sivasagar district of Upper Assam, was killed;by a team of policemen, Central Reserve Police Force personnel and a surrendered ULFA militant Tileswar Lahon during a counter-insurgency operation carried out in the village on April 14.
The incident since has triggered widespread protests all over the state much to the discomfort of the state government.
The police claimed that the villager was killed in crossfire during a search operation against ULFA militants in the village while the villagers alleged that he was killed in cold blood by the security personnel and the surrendered militant.
The All Assam Students Union has taken the lead in the protests demanding stern action against guilty police and CRPF men and the surrendered ULFA militant for killing the innocent villager and causing inhuman atrocities on the family members of the deceased.
The students' organisation also demanded a judicial inquiry into the killing of 'innocent villagers' and immediate arrest of the surrendered ULFA militant who accompanied the police-CRPF team during the operation.
In response to the massive outcry, the state government had ordered an inquiry by its Party who has already paid a visit to the village to record the version of villagers and the family members of the deceased.
He also questioned the Dibrugarh District Police Superintendent, Anurag Agarwal, Additional Superintendent of Police in Sivasagar district Manabendra Debroy and officer in charge of a local police station in Dibrugarh district.
The 'operation against ULFA militants' was carried out by the police from Dibrugarh district in the village located in neighbouring Sivasagar district without informing the administration in Sivasagar district.
The district administration in Sivasagar also lodged a complaint with the district police of neighbouring Dibrugarh district in this regard.
The additional chief secretary is yet to complete his investigation when the state government bowing to public pressure took the decision to institute a judicial inquiry into the incident.
Meanwhile, the surrendered ULFA militant who was accompanying the police-CRPF team during the botched operation is still at large despite public demand for his immediate arrest.