Outrage after Adivasi dies in army custody
* Protesters block highway at Gohpur, Dispur announces CID enquiry
* Adivasi youth was a BCF cadre, alleges army authority while initiating probe
Gohpur/Guwahati, Aug 19: Protestors on Wednesday took to the streets and blocked the highway at Gohpur, a day after an Adivasi youth died in army custody, propelling the State government to announce an inquiry by the Crimil Investigation Department (CID).
Locals said that five youths - Sogadi g (27), Santosh Mahanda (30), Sukhdev g (30), Jogen Bhatta (32) and Sanju Mahanda (38) - were picked up by personnel of the Halem-based 6 Mahur Regiment from yaghagra tea estate in the wee hours of Tuesday. Four of them were released later.
However, Sogadi g was taken to Gohpur Civil Hospital at around 11 am on Tuesday. Doctors at the civil hospital referred him to the Tezpur Medical College, but he died on the way.
Locals alleged the five youths were physically tortured by the army while in custody. The four other have also been admitted at Catholic Mission Hospital.
Thousands of protestors, including representatives from political and student organizations, gheraoed the office of the Gohpur Sub Divisiol Officer (Civil), demanding withdrawal of the army. The protestors also demanded CBI inquiry and adequate compensation to the victim’s family. Later, the protestors, who sent dashed off a memorandum to the Governor, blocked the highway for two hours.
Biswath superintendent of police Mavendra Dev Roy conveyed to the protestors that the government will initiate a CID inquiry into the incident, besides providing assistance to the family.
A FIR was lodged at Gohpur police station ming one Om Prakash, a captain of the 6 Mahur Regiment.
There were allegations that the army did not take along with them local police during the operation – which is mandatory.
DIG (north) S Hazarika also visited Gohpur to take stock of the situation.
Meanwhile, a statement from the army stated that Sogadi g was a cadre of the Birsa Commando Force. “The apprehended BCF cadre led the patrol party to a hideout where he dug out a 9 mm pistol, one magazine and five live rounds of ammunition. When the army personnel was on the way to hand him over to police, the cadre complained of chest pain and uneasiness. He was provided water and was immediately evacuated to Gohpur Civil Hospital,” the statement said, denying any foul play.
The army, however, has initiated an inquiry into the incident. “If at all any other facts emerge in course of investigation, it will be communicated to the media,” the statement said.
Former minister Ripun Bora and Gohpur MLA Monika Bora has also written to the Chief Minister seeking a high-level inquiry into the incident.