Assam violence: CM Himanta Sarma defends police action, says cannot demean state govt using one video

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Updated: September 24, 2021 10:19 PM

Himanta Biswa Sarma justified the police action and said that the anti-encroachment was not done overnight and discussions were on for four months.

Himanta Biswa Sarma justified the police action and said that the anti-encroachment was not done overnight and discussions were on for four months.

A day after violence broke out during an anti-encroachment drive in Assam’s Darrang district which claimed two lives and left several injured, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Friday said that over 10,000 people had surrounded the cops and used violence which led to police retaliation.

“Eviction drive was initiated with an agreed principle…that landless will be provided 2 acres each as per land policy, representatives agreed. We expected no resistance but about 10,000 people gheraoed Assam Police, used violence, then police retaliated,” he said.

Sarma justified the police action and said that the anti-encroachment was not done overnight and discussions were on for four months. “Congress delegation had met me and agreed on land allotment to landless. 27,000 acres of land has to be productively used. There was a temple, which was also encroached upon,” he added.

He further said that the eviction drive was initiated with an agreed principle that landless will be provided 2 acres each as per land policy.

“Our 11 police personnel have been injured. We will carry out an inquiry on how the cameraman came into the scene, and why he tried to overpower that particular person. We have ordered a judicial probe,” Sarma added.

When asked about the viral video in which a photojournalist and a cop were seen beating a protestor, Assam CM said, “You cannot demean state govt with one video.”

“Normally people don’t encroach on temple land. I’ve seen encroachments all around. A peaceful eviction drive was agreed upon, but who instigated?” he asked.

Two persons were killed and 20 others, including policemen, were injured when police tried to evict encroachers at Gorukhuti and other villages under Sipajhar revenue circle in Darrang district on Thursday.

A shocking video showing a man slinging a camera and hitting an apparently dead person with a bullet wound on his chest surfaced after the incident. Public protest had erupted over the demand for rehabilitation of 800 families who had been evicted from state-owned land where they had been living for decades.

The BJP Friday alleged that various forces, including Popular Front of India (PFI) could have instigated protesters to attack Assam Police personnel. The charge was however strongly denied by the Assam unit of PFI which said it has no cadre or member in Gorukhuti area.

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