Compensation for encounter victims: Assam Rifles killed innocent

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Rs.5 lakh each to be given to next of kin of five persons who died in an

encounter with Assam Rifled in Sonitpur district in April 2009

The National Human Rights Commission on Thursday asked the Union Home Ministry to pay Rs. 5 lakh each to the next of kin of the five persons, who died in an encounter with Assam Rifles in Sonitpur district of Assam in April 2009.

The Commission wanted the MHA to pay the monetary relief within a period of eight weeks and also sought a compliance report from the Union Home Secretary along with the proof of payment on or before March 20.

Rejecting the report from the Assam Rifles in the matter, the Commission observed that it was not provided with any proof that any of these five victims had either handled or fired the weapons allegedly recovered from the scene of the incident.

“Further, no explanation was offered by the MHA to show that there was no violation of human rights in the incident and for that reason, the next of kin of the five deceased should be compensated,” a statement issued by the NHRC said. The Commission also noted that the Magistrate, who conducted the enquiry, had held that four out of the five men might have had involvement with an extremist organisation, but had not examined the circumstances of their deaths.

“Even if these men had extremist links, the Commission’s examination of the reports sent by the Assam Rifles and by the police, made it difficult to accept the claim that the men were killed in a genuine encounter,” the NHRC said. The Commission took suo motu cognisance of the matter on September 16, 2011 following information provided on the website of Assam Police that five MULTA and NDFB activists were killed in an encounter with Assam Rifles personnel on April 19 in 2009 at Akabasti under Rangapara Police Station in Sonitpur district. However, no intimation in this regard seemed to have been received by the Commission as per its guidelines.

Subsequently, notices were issued to the Union Home Secretary, Director General of Police, Assam, District Magistrate and Sonitpur Superintendent of Police, to take appropriate action with regard to the investigation of the case and submit requisite reports. DGP, Assam, was also asked to explain as to why intimation about the said incident was not sent to the Commission.

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