Defending the Assam police firing which left two people dead in Darrang district while an eviction drive was underway, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that atleast 10,000 people gheraoed, used violence, then police retaliated.
“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,” Sarma said.
“Our 11 police personnel have been injured. We will carry out inquiry on how cameraman came into the scene, and why he tried to overpower that particular person…We have ordered a judicial probe,” he added.
The CM also stressed that the eviction drive was not done after due discussions for four months. “This (eviction drive) was urgent. It was not done overnight, discussions were on for 4 months. Congress delegation had met me & 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.”
The public protest had erupted over the demand for rehabilitation of nearly 800 families evicted from the land they were living on for decades.
Darrang Superintendent of Police Sushanta Biswa Sarma, a younger brother of Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, claimed the protesters, armed with sharp weapons, pelted the police personnel and others present with stones.
Police initially fired in air to disperse the protesters but failed, forcing the men in uniform to fire at people, killing two and injuring at least ten others. Around 10 more, including policemen, were also injured in clashes.
Meanwhile, a purported video of the incident has gone viral on social media where a photographer is seen kicking a person, presumably dead.
The video shows hundreds of policemen firing at unseen targets from behind the trees, and a man in vest and lungi running on a dusty street.
A photographer ran behind him until the time the men in uniform surrounded the man as gunshots rang in the background.
The photographer was seen being led out by a policeman, but soon returned, jumped over his body, and hit him with something he had picked up lying close by.