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Two arrested for ‘instigating’ violence during eviction drive in Assam

The SP said that the two had been booked on multiple sections under IPC, including an attempt to murder and criminal conspiracy. 

Written by Tora Agarwala | Guwahati |
Updated: September 28, 2021 7:08:49 am
AssamHarmuz Ali and Sahara Khatun in front of their shelter, after being evicted. (Express Photo)

The Assam Police Monday arrested two people for “instigating” violence during the eviction drive in Sipajhar in the state’s Darrang district on September 23 during which two people had died.

The two arrested people have been identified as Asmat Ali Ahmed (37) and Chand Mamud (47), hailing from Kirakara and Dholpur 3 villages respectively.

“They were instigators…From our investigation, we found that they instigated the protestors, asked them not to leave their homes during the eviction, among other things,” Darrang Superintendent of Police Sushanta Biswa Sarma told The Indian Express.

The SP said that the two had been booked on multiple sections under IPC, including an attempt to murder and criminal conspiracy.

Last week, the government’s eviction drive in Dholpur 3 village had turned violent, leaving two, including a 12-year-old, dead, following clashes between cops and local residents who were protesting against the eviction.

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma ordered a judicial inquiry into the deaths and directed that Bijay Bania, a cameraperson hired by the district administration, be arrested. Bania was seen stomping on a protester as he lay dying in a viral video. The man is currently in Guwahati jail.

Asked if any action had been taken against the policemen seen in the video, the SP said, “No action had been taken by the police yet.”

He added that Ahmed and Mamud were local leaders of panchayat bodies and that according to the investigation so far, there is nothing to establish their links with the Popular Front of India (PFI).

The PFI is a Muslim outfit that has been under the scanner of government organisations.

On Saturday, Himanta had named the PFI, hinting they could be connected to the violence. “Prior to the day of the incident, in the name of food for evicted families, the PFI visited the site,” the CM had said.

He had also said that there was “intelligence” on six people specifically, including “an Assam college lecturer”

“The state government has very clear intelligence reports that certain people have collected Rs 28 lakh from poor, landless people in the last three months, and were telling them that there will be no eviction and that they have convinced the government…They mobilised those people and created havoc on that particular day,” he had further added.

The CM had also said that while he had ordered a CID inquiry on Bania’s role, it did not mean that “we will not investigate who mobilised 10,000 people there.” According to Himanta, while the eviction drive affected just 60 people, 10,000 had gheraoed the 27 cops present there.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a top Assam Police officer had earlier told The Indian Express that “outside elements” had got involved in the protests. “They are the ones who gave the protest a violent colour. Drone images with us show this was a planned resistance and it was done tactically,” the official had said.

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