SIT to investigate the arson of a police station; death in custody investigation: Assam DGP

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Five miscreants were arrested on Sunday for the arson attack on Batadrava police station in Nagaon district, Assam, and a special investigation team (SIT) will soon be formed to investigate the incident, said a senior police official said on Sunday.

A separate investigation has also been ordered into the alleged death in custody of a local resident, which sparked the attack on the police station, he said.



The district administration on Sunday launched an eviction campaign against the invaders of Salnabori village, whose residents reportedly attacked and set fire to the police station the day before, following the alleged death in custody of a local, Safikul Islam, who was arrested the night before.

Director General of Police (DGP) Bhaskarjyoti Mahanta, who visited Batardava on Sunday, said: An SIT, headed by an additional Superintendent of Police, will be formed to investigate the arson. Five miscreants have already been apprehended and an investigation is underway to identify and catch the others.

Asked about the possible involvement of jihadists behind the attack, Mahanta replied, I will not call them jihadists. But perhaps the mob was organized by people trained by groups engaged in anti-Indian activities.

The DGP said the police had information that the fundamentalist group Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT) was trying to settle in Nagaon and nearby areas.

He said: “ABT modules have recently been destroyed in Assam, Tripura and Bhopal. We know that some of them are working in these areas. They have entered mosques and madrassas, but they do not have the support ordinary people.

“They are trying to create sleeper cells so that foreign mujahideen can be brought here,” he added.

Mahanta said the incident appeared “systematic and planned”.

“In this particular incident, we saw an element of preparation. People were provoked,” he claimed.

The DGP also said a drug dealer and a dacoit were identified in the crowd that set the police station on fire, with police also trying to find out if the attack was aimed at burning evidence and case logs.

He said an additional SP from neighboring Karbi Anglong district, Prakash Sonowal, has been tasked with carrying out an independent investigation into the alleged deaths in custody.

“I saw a photo that clearly indicates that Islam was drunk or on drugs when he was brought to the police station on Friday evening. Technically, he died in police custody. There is an allegation of misconduct on the part of the police and the independent. The investigation will determine that,” he added.

Earlier in the day, Mahanta said the head of the Batadrava police station had been suspended and the rest of the staff terminated following the attack.

In an earlier Facebook post, the DGP said Islam was released by police on Saturday and handed over to his wife, who took him to two hospitals when he complained of being unwell before being released. declared dead by doctors.

Family members of the deceased fishmonger had, however, claimed that the police demanded 10,000 rupees and a duck as a bribe for his release, and his wife went to the police station with a duck on Saturday morning .

When she later returned with the money, she learned that her husband had been taken to Nagaon Civil Hospital. After arriving there, she found him dead, they claimed.

Alleging that the man had died from torture, the villagers stormed the police station, allegedly assaulted service personnel and then set fire to the building.

Videos of the incident showed a woman dousing flammable liquid on two-wheelers parked outside the police station and setting them on fire. The fire engulfed the police station soon after and firefighters had to be called in to put it out.

Special DGP (Law and Order) GP Singh, who also visited Batadrava, said forensic experts had been asked to collect residue from the site of the arson as there are allegations according to which kerosene or gasoline-type flammable liquids have been used.

Regarding the loss of case logs and other evidence stored at the police station, Singh said all FIRs for the past three years have been filed online and copies of the case logs have been kept in two offices other than the one attacked.

“If some case logs are lost, we can always reconstruct them,” he added.

Asked about the eviction campaign in the village of Salnabori, Singh said many of those involved in the incident had encroached on the land they resided on and forged documents proving their ownership.

“We registered a file and alerted the district administration, which proceeded with the eviction campaign,” added the policeman.

Local reports suggest around six houses, including that of Islam, were demolished by the administration on Sunday.

Meanwhile, a former AIUDF MP, Anowar Hussain Laskar, filed a complaint with the Assam State Human Rights Commission for the death of Islam.

(Only the title and image of this report may have been edited by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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