The Gauhati high court on Tuesday asked the Assam government to file a detailed affidavit on the police encounters that have been taking place since the Bharatiya Janata Party returned to power in the state in May 2021.
Hearing a public interest litigation filed by advocate Arif Md Yeasin Jwadder, a high court bench comprising Chief Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia and Justice Soumitra Saikia asked Assam Advocate General Devajit Lon Saikia to submit the detailed affidavit related to the encounters.
“The home and political department will prepare and file the affidavit," the advocate general told PTI.
The high court has fixed January 25 for the next hearing of the case.
According to Jwadder, the court asked the principal secretary (home) or additional secretary (home) to file the detailed affidavit on the alleged fake encounters.
Noted rights activist Indira Jaising argued in the case on behalf of the petitioner.
Jwadder claimed that Saikia informed the Court that magisterial probes were being conducted about the encounters, but Jaising countered that no such information is available.
Jaising urged the court to direct the state to upload the FIRs on their website if the cases have been registered.
Earlier on January 3, the Gauhati high court had asked the Assam government to furnish all case details of the encounters.
Besides the Assam government, Assam police chief, state law and justice department, National Human Rights Commission and Assam Human Rights Commission have been named as respondents in the petition.
Jwadder in his petition sought an enquiry by an independent agency like the Central Bureau of Investigation, special investigation team or the police teams from other states under the supervision of the court.
The petitioner also sought a judicial enquiry by a sitting Judge of Gauhati high court and monetary compensation to the victims' family after due verification.
Jwadder claimed in the PIL that more than 80 “fake” encounters between Assam Police and the alleged accused had taken place since May 2021, when Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma took charge.
It had resulted in 28 deaths and more than 48 injuries.
The people killed or injured were not dreaded criminals and the modus operandi of the police has been the same in all the encounters, the PIL claimed.
The petition doubted the police statement published in newspapers which said that the force had to retaliate and kill or injure the accused in self-defence as they had tried to snatch service revolvers of the police personnel.
The injured or dead persons were not militants and were not trained to use pistols and it cannot be the case that all the accused could snatch a service revolver from a trained police officer.
Earlier, the petitioner had filed a complaint on the alleged “fake” encounters with the NHRC against the Assam Police over the series of encounters that have taken place since May 2021.
The NHRC in November 2021 transferred the case to the AHRC, which had also taken suo motu cognisance of the alleged fake encounters and asked for a report from the Assam government.