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NHRC orders relief for victim kin

Guwahati, March 12: The National Human Rights Commission today asked the Assam government to pay Rs 5 lakh each to the next of kin of Munindra Kalita, 26, and Pingal Deka, 27, who were killed in an encounter by Assam police and the army in a joint operation in 2009.

The commission in its order today said the state government has no explanation to offer to its various observations raising doubts about the genuineness of the encounter. The division bench of NHRC members, Justice D. Murugesan and Satyabrata Pal passed the orders.

It has asked for a proof of payment from the state government on or before April 17.

The commission had taken suo motu cognizance of the incident and registered a case (209/3/1/2011-ED), on the basis of the information given on the Assam police website. It said two Ulfa militants were killed in an encounter at Na-Satra, under Sarthebari police station in Barpeta district on July 10, 2009.

The commission, during the course of inquiry, did not find the probe conducted by the magistrate helpful and observed that he had not taken trouble to examine the witness evidence and check the police claim that the entire village was cordoned off before the encounter. “There was no forensic test done to establish the scientific evidence to sustain that the encounter was genuine,” the commission said.

The post-mortem report conclusively demolished the case made by the police and contrary to their claims of encounter from a distance, it was found that both the men were shot at contact range.

Earlier on February 13, the commission had asked the Union home ministry to pay a sum of Rs 5 lakh each to the next of kin of the five persons who died in an encounter with the Assam Rifles in Akabasti village in Sonitpur district on April 19, 2009. They were Prabhat Basumatary, Deithan Basumatary, Krishna Basumatary, Junish Ali and Babul Ali.

The commission had stated that it was not provided with any proof that any of these five men had either handled or fired the weapons allegedly recovered from the scene of the incident.

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