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Assam government to withdraw one lakh minor cases

Those innocents will be released after following due legal process, says Himanta Biswa Sarma
Himanta Biswa Sarma.
Himanta Biswa Sarma.
File photo

Umanand Jaiswal   |   Guwahati   |   Published 16.08.22, 01:48 AM

Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Monday announced his government’s decision to withdraw about 1 lakh minor cases, including those related to social media posts, to reduce the burden on the judiciary so that it can concentrate on heinous crimes like rape and murder.

Sarma made the announcement in his Independence Day speech in Guwahati. He said his government’s attention has been drawn to about 4.5 lakh cases the lower judiciary is saddled with and as a result of which there has been no hearing in rape and murder cases and the guilty are not being punished.

“These cases have impacted the smooth delivery of justice. I announce that we have decided to formally drop small cases registered till midnight of August 14, 2022, cases like those related to posts on Facebook or Twitter, so that the judiciary can concentrate on pending heinous cases like rape and murder,” Sarma said.

Arrests made for social media posts have dogged the headlines in recent months, especially that of a 19-year-old and a 22-year-old college students for posts allegedly supporting the banned Ulfa (Independent). There were demands by certain quarters that instead of arresting them and putting them in jail, they needed counselling.

The chief minister also said the government will set up a mechanism to look into cases where innocents are languishing in jails because “they could not arrange a lawyer”. Those innocents will be released after following the due legal process, he said.

Without naming the banned Ulfa (I), Sarma cited the successful celebration of  Independence Day across the state to convey a message to those who “dream about Independent Assam” that the state was an integral part of India and Assam will never leave India.

He said 42 lakh flags produced by SHGs were sold as part of the Har Ghar Tiranga campaign fetching around Rs 17 lakh.

The Ulfa (I) along with the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (K-YA) had earlier this month urged the masses in Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Tripura, and Meghalaya to boycott the 75th Independence Day celebrations. The groups had also called for a bandh from August 14 midnight to 6pm on August 15.

“The exuberant celebrations of the past few days have shown secessionist groups that people consider Assam to be an integral & inalienable part of Bharat since time immemorial. I urge the secessionist groups to come for discussions and aid in Assam's development journey,” Sarma tweeted.

Sarma also came down on those engaging minors as domestic help and believing in the caste system.

He also urged the masses to write a page on the achievements of the legendary Ahom general Lachit Barphukan “as we celebrate” his year-long 400th birth anniversary.

He said the government has decided to provide land pattas to people residing in village grazing reserve for more than a generation and land with annual pattas and spend Rs 10,000 crore to boost the higher secondary education sector.

“We will send 1,000 youths to Cellular Jail this year on an educational tour to help them get inspired by the sacrifices of our freedom fighters,” Sarma said.

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