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Friday, December 04, 2020

Assam: Supreme Court notice to Centre, state on ‘fake encounter’

The Indian Express was the first to report on May 24 that CRPF IG Rajnish Rai had sent a report to his headquarters and written to the chiefs of all the forces exposing how the encounter was staged.

Written by Deeptiman Tiwary | New Delhi | August 14, 2018 2:30:41 am
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The Supreme Court Monday issued a notice to the Union of India and the State of Assam in connection with allegations of a fake encounter carried out in Chirang district of Assam by a joint team of the Army, Assam Police, CRPF and SSB on March 30, 2017.

The Indian Express was the first to report on May 24 that CRPF IG Rajnish Rai had sent a report to his headquarters and written to the chiefs of all the forces exposing how the encounter was staged.

In his report sent to CRPF headquarters in Delhi, Gujarat-cadre IPS officer Rajnish Rai, then posted in Shillong with CRPF as IG, North East Sector, had alleged that the encounter — near Simlaguri village under Amguri police station — that led to the death of two suspected members of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (Songbijit), or NDFB(S) faction, was staged. And that the two men were picked up from a house in D-Kalling village and killed in cold blood in Simlaguri.

Calling for a full-fledged investigation, Rai had alleged that weapons were planted on their bodies. The two killed were identified as Lucas Narzary alias N Langfa and David Islary alias Dayud. He said he had witnesses who have identified the bodies as those of the two men who were picked up and that these witnesses are in his safe custody.

A subsequent visit to the village by The Indian Express and interviews of witnesses had corroborated Rai’s report.

The notices have been issued in response to a petition filed by former power secretary EAS Sarma, whose PIL had moved the Supreme Court to declare Salwa Judum unconstitutional.

The petition has prayed that the alleged fake encounter be thoroughly investigated and compensation be paid to the families of the victims.

The petition is based on an application filed by Rajnish Rai in Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) where he has raised doubts over the role played by CRPF in two encounters carried by security forces in Assam and called the third one, carried out in Chirang, to be fake.

HRLN’s Colin Gonsalves, who is representing Sarma in court, said, “This is not just about a fake encounter, but a systemic failure. As pointed out by Rai, it is important to note that three different forces came together with the uniformed strategy to execute it. The confidence with which the younger officers lied about the encounters is a sign of degeneration of the system. Since Independence we haven’t had a police officer of IG rank come out on such large-scale criminality in the police force. One should not underestimate the historic importance of the disclosure made by him. It stands apart from all other cases”

Gosalves added that he would also seek directions from court on systemic failures.

Rai’s report, dated April 17, 2017, was marked to Assam Chief Secretary V K Pipersenia; the then acting CRPF DG Sudeep Lakhtakia; Lt Gen A S Bedi, GOC, 4 Corps & Chairperson, Operational Group, Unified Command; Assam DG Mukesh Sahay; SSB DG Archana Ramasundaram and CRPF ADG (NE Zone) Mohd Javed Akhtar.

After The Indian Express reported on the issue, Rai was summarily transferred to Andhra Pradesh in a training centre which is yet begin functioning.

The Home Ministry has initiated an inquiry against the officer for conducting a probe into the encounter.

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