Guwahati: Leader of Opposition in the Assam Assembly Debabrata Saikia has written to the state human rights commission, urging it to hold the Himanta Biswa Sarma government “accountable” for alleged police encounters since the BJP-led coalition came to power in May last year.

He also claimed that there have been “more than 80 cases of encounters and over 30 suspected criminals killed while several other injured in the police firings in the last eight-nine months.

In the letter to the chairman of Assam Human Rights Commission, Saikia said it must conduct an inquiry into the alleged police firings to safeguard the Constitution.

“We have a legal system to deal with all types of crimes. But this growing tendency of the police to deliver justice through encounters is not a good indication for our future… we urge you (the AHRC) to hold the Assam government accountable for police encounters,” the Congress leader said in the letter.

He accused the chief minister of publicly supporting the police firings.

Saikia also questioned the police claims that “the men in uniform had to fire in each encounter case when suspected criminals tried to escape from custody or snatch weapons from policemen”.

The leader of opposition mentioned that “in several cases, local people had said suspects killed or injured in police firings were not involved in any criminal activity.

“Everyone wants a crime-free state, but no one should be targeted for it,” Saikia said.

The AHRC had taken suo motu action on the alleged fake encounters and asked for a report from the state government.

Saikia had in September last year written to the rights body on the issue.

Altogether 32 people have been killed and at least 68 injured in the police action since the Himanta Biswa Sarma government assumed office in May 2021.

The rising number of shoot-outs whipped up a political furore with the opposition alleging that the Assam Police has turned “trigger happy” and is indulging in “open killings” under the present BJP-led government.

Unfazed by criticism of his government over the encounter killings, Sarma had on July 15 last year said in the Assam Assembly that the state police has “full operational liberty” to fight against criminals within the ambit of law.

The Gauhati High Court had on January 11 asked the state government to file a detailed affidavit within two weeks on the police encounters that are taking place since the BJP returned to power in 2021.

The state government on Tuesday failed to submit the affidavit as sought by the court which allowed the authorities more time for it and deferred hearing of the case to February 8.

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