Jorhat, April 16: A youth was allegedly shot dead by a policeman inside Guijan police outpost in Tinsukia district last night, triggering protests by residents in front of the outpost today. Several local organisations have called a 24-hour district strike from 5am tomorrow.
The constable, Thaneshwar Phukan, was today arrested on charges of murdering Kartik Das, 38, secretary of the Guijan unit of Youth Congress. Guijan, 12km from Tinsukia town, falls under Chabua Assembly seat under Lakhimpur Lok Sabha constituency.
According to preliminary investigations, Das had accompanied two local youths, who had wanted to lodge an FIR against some persons they had a quarrel with earlier in the day, to the outpost around 9.30pm, Tinsukia additional superintendent (headquarters) L. Doungel, who is at present the superintendent of police in-charge of the district, told The Telegraph over phone from Tinsukia.
District superintendent of police A.K. Singh is out of station.
Doungel said the outpost in-charge, Monisena Sinha, suggested that the youths redraft their complaint, following which two youths came out of the outpost to do the needful while Das waited inside. The duo took about 20 to 30 minutes to return during which Das and Phukan, who was “slightly drunk”, had an altercation. Phukan reportedly discouraged Das from lodging an FIR during festive time (Bohag Bihu) and asked him to settle the quarrel amicably. As the altercation heated up, Sinha tried to intervene and defuse the situation but Phukan suddenly fired a shot from his service .303 rifle and the bullet hit Das’s chest.
Das was immediately taken to Tinsukia district civil hospital where he was declared brought dead.
Phukan was arrested after Das’s sister, Malati, lodged an FIR, demanding a probe and “severe punishment” to the constable and any other policeman involved in her brother’s murder.
Doungel said he had suspended Sinha. A departmental probe will be initiated against him.
Tinsukia deputy commissioner Puru Gupta said this evening that he had ordered a magisterial inquiry to know about the circumstances leading to Das’s death inside the outpost.
As the news of the incident spread, local people staged a protest in front of Guijan outpost, shouting slogans against the police and demanding justice. They alleged that the police authorities were trying to “shield” the accused. They have also demanded a compensation of Rs 10 lakh for Das’s next of kin and a job for his elder sister. Kartik has left behind a sister and an aged mother.