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Call-up for DGP in secret killings case

Guwahati, June 7: The K.N. Saikia Commission of inquiry probing the secret killings that rocked Assam during the erstwhile AGP-led government, is summoning a top police officer from Tripura as the incidents took place during his stint as inspector-general of police (operations), Assam.

The commission will contact Tripura director-general of police G.M. Srivastava for his personal appearance tomorrow. “A senior Tripura police official, interacting on his behalf, said Srivastava had reached Agartala today after a long leave. We will contact him tomorrow and offer him the following dates ' June 10, June 13-14, June 30-July1 and July 5 ' to choose from,” a source said.

The reason for summoning him, sources said, was to get an insight into the working of the Unified Command, the three-tier security structure that planned and executed counter-insurgency operations when he was Assam’s IGP (operations). The structure is in place even today.

“In general, we would like to know what role he played as IG (operations) while executing counter-insurgency operations. The senior police official can give a picture about the ground realities when the secret killings took place. Most of the victims, after all, were relatives of militants or were known to them,” the source said.

Srivastava is widely believed to be the key police official to have guided the counter-insurgency operations in his capacity as IGP (operations). Srivastava left on deputation to Tripura when he was ADG (operations), Assam.

The killings that the commission, the third to have been set up by the ruling Congress, is probing, took place between 1998 and 2001.

The killings were one of the main factors that contributed to the ouster of the Prafulla Kumar Mahanta government in 2001. The issue also figured prominently in the recently concluded Assembly elections.

The role of the senior police official and that of the Unified Command had cropped up during deposition in the high-profile Barama case, which saw the gunning down of five members of the Ulfa publicity secretary Mithinga Daimary on August 12, 1998 and the Dibrugarh case of August 11, 1998 in which Dimba Rajkonwar, elder brother of the Ulfa chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa, was murdered.

The development also assumes significance because Mahanta today told the commission during cross-examination that he was “outside the Unified Command structure”. He said this when asked whether it was necessary for those who carried out the operations to report to the Command headquarters. He also said there was no “scope for me to do anything after a decision was taken”.

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