A day after six persons were killed, and several injured in a clash between Assam Police and a mob along the Assam-Meghalaya border, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma Wednesday criticized the former over its handling of the violence and said it used force in an “unprovoked, uncontrolled and arbitrary” manner.
“I feel there was no need to fire to the extent the police did. The firing was a little unprovoked, and the police could have acted in a little more controlled manner,” CM Sarma was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
According to police, the force was used for defensive reasons during the clash, the CM said. “… However, in my view, it (force) was used a little arbitrarily. That should not have happened,” he said while speaking to reporters during a function in Delhi.
The CM said that the Assam government was trying to do its part “very sincerely”, and had already transferred the SP of West Karbi Anglong district. A few officials have been suspended as well.
Sarma said that the government ordered a judicial probe and asked the Centre to conduct a CBI or NIA investigation. “… If personnel of Assam Police were at fault, then they will also come under the ambit of investigation,” the chief minister said.
Six people, including an Assam Forest Guard, were killed and several others injured during an alleged clash between the Assam Police and a mob, around 3 am Tuesday in an area bordering the West Karbi Anglong district of Assam and Mukroh village in Meghalaya’s West Jaintia Hills. The Assam Police has claimed they opened fire in self defence after a mob surrounded them when they were trying to intercept a truck allegedly smuggling timber.
Five of those killed are from Meghalaya. The incident drew a sharp reaction from Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, who termed the Assam Police’s actions “inhuman” and said the state will set up a judicial commission and a Special Investigation Team to probe the shooting until a central agency takes over.
Sarma clarified and said that Tuesday’s incident was not related to the long-standing border dispute between the two northeastern states. “I am in touch with the Meghalaya CM… The Assam-Meghalaya border is peaceful and it has always been peaceful,” he said.
The incident comes ahead of the second phase of talks scheduled for this month-end between the two states to resolve their boundary dispute, and there are concerns its shadow will loom large over the negotiations.
With PTI inputs