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Forces: ‘Killer’ & victim in Chirang
Gogoi orders death probe

Kokrajhar, Dec. 12: Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi today ordered a high-level probe into yesterday’s killing of two school students in an alleged fake encounter in Assam’s Chirang district. The incident had drawn flak even from Congress’s ally BPF.

The victims, Jeremiya Narzary and Pranjit Narzary, were students in classes X and VI respectively. A Class VII student, Nikodim Narzary, was seriously injured in the encounter and is undergoing treatment at Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH).

Gogoi asked additional chief secretary V.B. Pyarelal to probe the causes and circumstances that led to the encounter and to submit the report within a month. He has also asked chief secretary Jitesh Khosla to take necessary action.

Police have claimed that the deceased were members of the Songbijit faction of the NDFB and were killed in an encounter with a joint team of police and army at Raidangbari under Runikhata police station, around 239km from Guwahati.

However, locals claim that the deceased were innocent students. Residents, students and guardians today staged a rally to protest the killings of the two innocent children in the “fake encounter”. They demanded a judicial inquiry.

The government has come under severe attack from its coalition partner, the Bodoland Peoples’ Front (BPF), over the killings.

Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) chief and BPF president Hagrama Mohilary not only condemned the killing of the students but also sought to meet and discuss it with Gogoi. He is also likely to raise the issue with New Delhi.

BPF legislator and party vice-president Pramila Rani Brahma said, “Following the footsteps of Prafulla Mahanta-led government, which was involved in secret killings, the Tarun Gogoi-led government is indulging in open killings.” She demanded action against the Chirang superintendent of police and said the law and order situation had deteriorated not only in BTAD but in the entire state.

She also demanded Rs 1 crore compensation to the victims’ families and warned security forces against harassment and killing of innocents in the name of launching operations against the NDFB (Songbijit).

The Bodoland Peoples Progressive Front (BPPF) also demanded a judicial inquiry, saying that the magisterial inquiry ordered by the Chirang district administration would be partial.

BPPF president Rabiram Narzary also termed the incident as “open killing” and alleged that the state government was directly responsible for the killing of the two students.

He, too, demanded compensation for the victims’ families and appealed to the government not to harass and kill innocent people in the name of NDFB (Songbijit).

State transport minister and local legislator Chandan Brahma and BTC deputy chief Kampa Borgoyary visited the students’ families.

GMCH superintendent Ramen Talukdar said Nikodim’s condition was still critical and he was undergoing treatment in the intensive care unit of the hospital.

“Nikodim sustained several bullet injuries in his abdomen and underwent a surgery in the emergency department yesterday. A team of doctors is constantly monitoring his condition,” he said.

A doctor attending on Nikodim said it would too early to comment on how fast the student would recover. “But it is a positive sign that Nikodim is responding to medication,” he added.

A relative waiting outside the intensive care unit said, “I am worried about Nikodim. I simply pray that he recovers fast.”