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Three killed in ‘retaliatory’ police firing in Assam after cops foil bank robbery bid

“The Police team intercepted the dacoits at Chengmari near Bhotgaon at around 2.30 am,” said the statement by the cops, adding that the dacoits “opened fire”, and the police team had to “resort to control firing to protect life and government property”.

Written by Tora Agarwala | Guwahati |
Updated: August 22, 2021 7:58:34 pm
Assam, robbery, police firing deathsAs per reports, after 30 minutes of continuous firing between the two parties, the police conducted a combing operation in the area and found three people in an injured condition, while the others managed to run away from the spot.

Three persons, who had allegedly planned to loot a bank in Assam’s Kokrajhar district, died in “retaliatory” police firing early on Sunday morning, cops said.

According to a police statement, the authorities had received an “intelligence input” that a six-member gang was attempting to loot a branch of the Allahabad Bank in Bhotgaon area in Kokrajhar on Sunday morning.

“The Police team intercepted the dacoits at Chengmari near Bhotgaon at around 2.30 am,” said the statement, adding that the dacoits “opened fire”, and the police team had to “resort to control firing to protect life and government property”.

As per reports, after 30 minutes of continuous firing between the two parties, the police conducted a combing operation in the area and found three people in an injured condition, while the others managed to run away from the spot.

“We immediately took them to the hospital, but they later succumbed to their injuries,” said Kokrajhar SP Prateek Thube.

He added that a similar attempt to rob the same bank had been made on May 28. “Since then, we had kept a watch on a number of people who we considered suspicious. We arrived at the spot yesterday after a tip-off,” he said at a press conference.

The bodies have been kept at a local hospital for autopsy.

He added that a combing operation by the cops was still on and they were looking for the three other dacoits.

Tweeting about the incident, Assam DGP Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta, wrote: “Prevention trumps a cure. Our underlying mantra. Yesterday evening @KokrajharP foiled a bank robbery at Chengmari near Bhotgaon. Upon being intercepted, the dacoits opened fire on Police. In retaliatory fire by police, 3 dacoits from nearby districts were injured & later succumbed.”

Mahanta added that vehicles, tools, gas cutters, two pistols along with oxygen cylinders — all of which were presumably to be used to carry out the robbery — were recovered from the site of the operation.

Reacting to the incident, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said, “We have to make Assam crime-free and things like rape, murder, theft have to completely disappear from Assam. We have been relentlessly working on it and will continue to do so.”

Since assuming office in May, Sarma had announced that his government would follow a “zero tolerance policy” towards criminals.

The development is the latest in a series of incidents involving accused persons “trying to escape” from custody, “attempting to snatch weapons” and police opening fire.

Since May, at least 23 people, who have been held following complaints of cattle-smuggling, rape, murder, drug-peddling and dacoity, have been shot at while in police custody, with five dead.

Cops have said that in most of the cases, the accused was allegedly “trying to flee” from custody or “snatch away police weapons” which compelled the police to fire in retaliation.

While the Opposition has criticised Assam Police for being “trigger-happy” on account of these incidents, Sarma has consistently defended their actions and said that he has given them “full operational freedom” to take the “toughest of actions” within the ambit of law to deal with criminals.

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