Curfew in northern Assam town as one dies in police firing after protest on custodial death turns violent

Chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal ordered a high-level investigation into the incident and directed additional chief secretary to submit a report within a fortnight.

Written by Samudra Gupta Kashyap | Guwahati | Updated: January 11, 2018 4:41:53 am
Sarbananda Sonowal, Assam government, demonetisation, Assam tear workers, bank accounts, tea workers accounts, assam news, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal. (Express Photo by Abhinav Saha)

Indefinite curfew was clamped down on Dhula, a small town in Darrang district in northern Assam, about 100 kms from here on Wednesday after a man was killed when police opened fire on a mob protesting the death of another person allegedly after he was picked up by the police in the wee hours.

“We had to impose curfew after a mob of 5,000 people turned violent and attacked police personnel in connection with the death of a person after he was apprehended by the police in the wee hours of Wednesday from a nearby village. One person was killed in police firing,” Darrang SP Sreejith T said.

SP Sreejith said that the police at around 2 am had picked up Hasen Ali from No 2 Atakata village, about 6 km from Dhula police station, the officer in-charge of Dhula police station Ranjit Hazarika informed that Ali had fallen ill while being taken to the police station.

“He was taken to Mangaldoi Civil Hospital which declared him brought dead, the body was later shifted to Guwahati Medical College Hospital. But as the news of Ali’s death spread, a large crowd gathered and gheraoed Dhula police station in the morning. Even as we registered a case and informed the people that Sub-Inspector Hazarika was placed under suspension, the crowd turned violent and began pelting stones at the police,” SP Sreejith said.

The police first resorted to cane charge, and then tear gas, and finally resorted to firing, killing one person and injuring a few others. The person killed in police firing has been identified as Mahidul Haque. Seven police personnel including a DySP and an Inspector were injured in the mob attack.

While curfew was immediately imposed in Dhula police station jurisdiction area, Sub-Inspector Ranjit Hazarika, officer in-charge of Dhula police station was later arrested, the SP said. A case of custodial death has been registered.

Chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal ordered a high-level investigation into the incident and directed additional chief secretary MGVK Bhanu to submit a report within a fortnight.

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