The fragile peace of Sipajhar in Assam’s Darrang district was broken as police tried to evict ‘encroachers’, leaving two people dead in police firing, around 20 injured in clashes, and a shocking video where an apparently dead man with a bullet wound on his chest lay motionless but was still hit by a man slinging a camera, reported PTI.
The state government announced a judicial inquiry into the circumstances leading to the incident amid mounting public anger.
An order issued by the Home and Political Department’s Secretary Debaparasad Misra said the government has decided the inquiry will be conducted by a retired judge of the Gauhati high court.
The incident drew condemnation, with Congress leader and ormer party president Rahul Gandhi calling the police action ‘state-sponsored fire’. Rahul tweeted, Assam is on state-sponsored fire. I stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the state- no children of India deserve this.
Assam is on state-sponsored fire.
I stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the state- no children of India deserve this. pic.twitter.com/syo4BTIXKH
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) September 23, 2021
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.