Guwahati: A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Gauhati High Court by an advocate seeking an independent inquiry and a separate judicial probe into the alleged encounters by the Assam Police since May this year.

The PIL, filed by New Delhi-based advocate Arif Jwadder who hails from Guwahati, was registered on Tuesday.

Jwadder has claimed in the PIL that over 80 such encounters have taken place in Assam since the new government took charge in May this year.

Twenty-eight people were killed and 48 injured in the fake encounters , the advocate said.

The people who lost their lives or sustained injuries in the fake encounters were not dreaded criminals and the modus operandi of the police was the same in all the encounters, the PIL said.

Jwadder has sought an order from the High Court for registration of FIR in the alleged fake encounter cases and an independent investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), or a Special Investigation Team (SIT) or a police team from another state under the supervision of the court.

He also sought a judicial inquiry by a sitting Judge of the Gauhati High Court into the alleged encounters and monetary compensation to the families of the victims after due verification.

Jwadder said in the PIL that as per police statement published in newspapers after all the encounters, the accused tried to snatch service revolvers of the police personnel, and in self defence, the law enforcers had to retaliate.

Casting doubts on the police version, the petitioner said that the persons who were killed or injured in the alleged encounters were not militants, and so they were not trained to use pistols.

It cannot be the case that all the accused could snatch service revolvers from trained police officers, the advocate said in the petition.

According to the police, all the encounters took place at night and the victims were unarmed and handcuffed at the time of the incidents, he added.

Besides the Assam government, Jwadder has made the director-general of Assam Police, department of Law and Justice, NHRC, and AHRC respondents in his petition.

Jwadder had filed a complaint about the “fake encounters” with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on July 10 and the complaint was acknowledged and diarised on July 16.

The Assam Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has also taken suo moto action on the alleged encounters and asked for a report from the Assam government.

However, Jwadder claimed in his PIL that the AHRC action was initiated after he had complained to the NHRC on July 10.

Though media reports mentioned that the AHRC issued the suo moto notice on July 7, information obtained through the Right to Information Act showed that the notice was issued on July 12, two days after Jwadder had lodged a complaint with the NHRC.

The advocate cited Section 21(5) of Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, which states that the State Commission shall not inquire into a matter which is already being inquired into by the Commission’ or any other Commission duly constituted under any law.

Urging the Court to examine how and why the AHRC could have taken cognisance of a matter already pending before the NHRC, the petitioner said in the PIL, the fact of the matter remains that neither the AHRC nor the NHRC has taken any concrete action in the matter regarding fake encounters in the state.

That the NHRC didn’t take any action until the petitioner filed an application under RTI Act, 2005 seeking steps taken on his email complaint and only after that on 14 September 2021 NHRC sent notice to DGP of Assam for Action Taken Report (ATR), the PIL stated.

Jwadder also pointed that on November 29, the NHRC transferred his complaint to the AHRC, ignoring the fact that AHRC had not taken cognisance of all the alleged fake encounter cases.

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