GUWAHATI, Feb. 8. — Investigating the death of a suspected Ulfa linkman Ajit Mahanta in its custody, the Army today relieved two officers of their responsibilities in Assam even as another custodial death was reported from Karbi Anglong district.
Mahanta was picked up from Kakopathar in Tinsukhia district on last Sunday. The Army later said that he had died of injuries while trying to escape. Mahanta’s body was found in a gunny bag in the Assam Medical College and Hospital in Tezpur on Monday. Defence sources said here today that Brig AS Minhas of 2 Mountain Division was inquiring into Mahanta’s death and two officers — a Major and Captain were relieved of their responsibilities, but not suspended. Residents of Kakopathar yesterday blocked the National High-way 52 in protest against Mahanta’s death while the administration had to intervene to have him cremated as his family refused to accept it “till the guilty were punished”, official sources said.
Army Chief Gen JJ Singh has also directed the Army authorities in Assam to ensure a speedy and impartial probe. Meanwhile, a cattle grazer Dhaneswar Puma who was picked up by the Army from Karbi Anglong district on 2 February was later reported to have been killed in an encounter, the All Tiwa Students Union alleged today. Two Ulfa activists surrendered to the Border Security Force in Cooch Behar on Tuesday night. — SNS & PTI