The Assam Police on Monday, 27 September, arrested two people for “instigating” violence that took place during the eviction drive in Darrang district’s Sipajhar area on 23 September, which resulted in the death of two local residents by police firing, including a 12-year-old.
Identified as 37-year-old Asmat Ali Ahmed from Kirakara village and 47-year-old Chand Mamud from Dholpur 3 village, Darrang Superintendent of Police Sushanta Biswa Sarma said, “They were instigators…From our investigation, we found that they instigated the protestors, asked them not to leave their homes during the eviction, among other things”, The Indian Express reported.
The two have been booked on multiple sections under the Indian Penal Code, including attempt to murder and criminal conspiracy.
The violence broke out after local residents protested against the eviction drive by the Assam government.
Further, in a video that caused national outrage, a villager armed with a lathi can be seen charging at the police personnel clad in riot gear, who in turn shoot him. As he lay motionless on the ground, a photographer – Bijoy Bonia – employed by the Darrang district administration to document the eviction drive, could be seen stomping the man. He was later arrested.
In Assam, anti-encroachment drives are being carried out after CM Himanta Biswa Sarma promised to clear encroachments from over 77,000 'bighas' (25,455 acres) of government-owned land for the employment of youth in agricultural purposes.
At least 800 families have been evicted from the Darrang area since 20 September.
Darrang SP, who is also Assam Chief Minister Sarma’s brother, said, Ahmed and Mamud were local leaders of panchayat bodies.
However, contrary to Assam CM’s claim of Popular Front of India (PFI) being involved, the SP added, there is nothing to establish their (Ahmed and Mamud) links with the PFI.
The PFI is a Kerala-based Muslim organisation that has been accused of terror activities in the past.
On 25 September, Sarma had defended the police action claiming that the villagers had attacked them first.
(With inputs from The Indian Express)
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