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Probe into youth’s death, ex gratia for family

Jorhat, April 18: The magisterial inquiry into the death of Kartik Das, the youth who was shot dead inside a police outpost in Tinsukia district on Tuesday night began today, with the district’s additional deputy commissioner Diganta Saikia recording the statements of police officials.

The police top brass has extended a one-time relief of Rs 1 lakh to the bereaved family and was considering providing further “temporary assistance” to the family of the victim.

Saikia told The Telegraph that he recorded the statements of three policemen, including the main accused — constable Thaneshwar Phukan and the then Guijan outpost in-charge Monisena Sinha.

Phukan, who was arrested and was remanded in three days’ police custody by the court of Tinsukia district and sessions judge on Wednesday, will again be produced before the court tomorrow.

The police authorities have suspended Sinha and departmental proceedings have been initiated against him.

The additional deputy commissioner said a public hearing would be held at the Guijan Gaon Panchayat Public Hall on Monday as part of the probe.

He said any person having information regarding the incident could appear before him and record their statements.

The hearing will be held from 11am to 3pm.

Saikia said the district administration was considering sanctioning financial aid (ex gratia of Rs 3 lakh) to the next of kin of the victim as applicable under government rules. He said the process for the same was on.

On Tuesday night, Das, 38, was allegedly shot dead by Phukan inside the Guijan police outpost.

Das was the secretary of the Guijan unit of the Youth Congress.

Guijan, 12km from Tinsukia town, falls under Chabua Assembly seat under Lakhimpur Lok Sabha constituency.

Das had reportedly 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.

The outpost in-charge, Monisena Sinha, suggested that the youths should redraft their complaint.

The two youths came out of the outpost to do the needful while Das waited inside. The two took nearly 20 to 30 minutes to return to the outpost.

In the meantime, Das and Phukan, who was “slightly drunk”, had an altercation.

Phukan reportedly discouraged Das from lodging an FIR, saying that it was festival time (Bohag Bihu) and asked him to settle the quarrel amicably.

As the altercation heated up, Sinha reportedly 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, leading to his death.

The incident triggered massive protests by residents in front of the outpost on Wednesday.

A 24-hour Tinsukia district strike call from 5am yesterday by several local organisations had paralysed normal life.

Deputy inspector-general (eastern range) Satyen Gogoi told this correspondent that according to the instruction of Assam director-general of police Khagen Sarmah, he yesterday handed over a cheque for Rs 1 lakh to Malati, the elder sister of the victim.

Gogoi said as the youth was the “only bread earner” of the family with his widowed sister and his ailing mother, the DGP released the money from his department’s fund as one-time relief for the victims’ family.

“The DGP has said further assistance, in the form of a job offer, was being considered to help the family members,” the DIG said.