Diphu: A drug trafficker was shot at and critically injured in an encounter in Karbi Anglong district of Assam on Thursday when he allegedly tried to escape from police custody, an official said.

The incident happened along the Assam-Nagaland border, he said.

Acting on a tip-off, a team of policemen had on August 2 arrested two drug traffickers and seized heroin worth Rs 7 lakh and a vehicle from them.

They were apprehended in an area under the Dhansiri Police Station limits of the district, the official said.

The police had taken them to conduct search operations at Dimapur in Nagaland on the next day.

One of the two drug traffickers tried to escape from custody when they were being taken again to the neighbouring state on Thursday for further operations.

The police opened fire on him and he received bullet injuries on his leg, the official said, adding that the drug trafficker has been admitted to the Diphu Medical College and Hospital.

A rising number of police encounters, which have seen several suspected insurgents and criminals being shot dead as they “tried to escape” from custody in the last three months, has whipped up a political furore in Assam.

At least 30 arrested people have been injured and 15 others were killed during the period when they allegedly tried to run away from police custody.

The opposition parties and a section of the civil society accused the police of indulging in ‘open killings’ since Himanta Biswa Sarma of the BJP assumed charge as chief minister on May 10.

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Unfazed by criticism of his government over recent encounter killings, Sarma had said the state police has “full operational liberty” to fight against the criminals within the ambit of law.

The Assam Human Rights Commission, taking suo motu cognizance, has asked the state government to conduct an inquiry into circumstances that led to the death and injury of people in police firing since May.

Earlier, a New Delhi-based lawyer from Assam, Arif Jwadder, had filed a complaint with the National Human Rights Commission against the state police for a series of encounters that have taken place since Sarma took over the charge.

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