Nagaon (Assam): A suspected drug peddler was shot at by the police when he allegedly tried to escape from custody in Nagaon district of Assam, a senior official said on Tuesday.

Acting on a tip-off, a team of police personnel raided his house at Balikatia on Monday night and recovered 72 plastic containers of suspected heroin, Nagaon Additional Superintendent of Police Dhruba Bora said.

“While the police team was trying to search at the kitchen of the accused, he scuffled with them and tried to escape. The police had no option but to fire aiming at his leg,” the officer said.

The accused was immediately sent to Juria Primary Health Centre for treatment, he said.

Considering his injury, the PHC referred him to Nagaon Civil Hospital. Later, he was shifted to Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), the ASP said.

He stated that the suspected drug peddler is a prime accused of a murder case.

Altogether 33 people have been killed and at least 78 injured in police action since the BJP government, led by Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, assumed office in May 2021.

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

Unfazed by criticism of his government over recent 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 the criminals within the ambit of law.

The Assam government had on February 7 claimed in an affidavit before the Gauhati High Court that due process of law and all guidelines issued by the National Human Rights Commission were being followed in all cases of police encounters that have taken place in the state since May last year.

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