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Assam 1st in police encounter deaths in NE, 2nd in country

GUWAHATI, May 13: Assam continues to remain in the limelight but for wrong reasons as is the case quite often. One of the chilling realities that has surfaced is that according to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), from April 1, 2014 to February 15, 2018, as many as 171 cases have been registered on the basis of receipt of intimation by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on deaths in police encounters in the State.

Apart from remaining way ahead of other States in the Northeast on this front, Assam is second only to Chhattisgarh that has as many as 180 such cases against it at the national level.

Cases regarding deaths in police encounters are registered on the basis of intimidation received by the NHRC. It was on December 5, 2010 that the NHRC circulated guidelines to the State governments/Union territories in dealing with cases of deaths occurring in police actions emphasizing that all such cases should be reported to it by the Superintendent of Police of the district concerned within 48 hours, and that subsequent report along with post-mortem report, inquest report and findings of the magisterial inquiry or inquiry by senior officers must be sent within three months. Prompt prosecution and disciplinary action must be initiated against all delinquent officers found guilty in the magisterial inquiry or police investigation, the NHRC guidelines say.

According to statistics made available by the MHA, from April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2015 Assam topped the list of such cases – as many as 82 – registered on the basis of intimation received by the NHRC on deaths in police encounters. Assam was distantly followed by Chhattisgarh with 23 cases during the financial year. From April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016, Chhattisgarh overtook Assam with the registration of 48 such cases. Assam closely followed Chhattisgarh with 43 such cases during the period. During the period from April 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017 also, Chhattisgarh topped the list with 75 such cases. Assam distantly followed it with 31 cases. However, during the period from April 1, 2017 to February 15, 2018, Uttar Pradesh topped the list with 37 such cases, closely followed by Chhattisgarh with 34 cases and Assam with 15 cases.

During the four-fiscal period for which statistics has been made available by the MHA, Chhattisgarh has topped the list with 180 such cases, closely followed by Assam with 171 cases.

When it comes to other States in the Northeast, the situation is not as dismal. While Meghalaya has as many as 50 death-in-police-encounter cases during the four-fiscal period, Manipur has 14 such cases and Arunachal Pradesh has 10 during the period. Significantly, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim in the region have no such cases during the period.

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Ankur Kalita