Guwahati: The Assam government yesterday blamed the army for the custodial death of a villager this month that led to widespread public protests and police firing killing nine people last week.
The clashes erupted in eastern Assam’s Tinsukia district Feb 10 following the death of the villager, Ajit Mahanta, in the army custody Feb 6, a day after he had been picked up on suspicion of having links with the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (Ulfa).
“We have confirmed that Mahanta died in the army custody. Army commanders are now conducting a probe into the incident,” Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi told reporters in the state’s main city of Guwahati.
“We want action against those involved in the custodial death as our government is totally against any form of excesses and human rights violations by the security forces in the name of countering insurgency”.
The chief minister said there were some “black sheep in the army and my own police force” doing things that were not in the interest of the government. “We have ordered a judicial probe headed by a retired judge of the Supreme Court to ascertain facts behind the custodial death and the police firing during protests,” Gogoi said. The chief minister Friday visited the village where the police firing took place but was greeted by protesters shouting anti-government slogans and waving black flags. “We are taking the matter very seriously and shall not allow such things to happen in the future,” Gogoi said.