Guwahati: Two persons were shot dead and at least seven policemen were injured after Assam cops launched a brutal crackdown on locals on Thursday during an anti-encroachment drive to evict encroachers from a large swath of land that belong to a state framing project at Garukhuti in Dholpur area in the Darrang district, assaulting them with sticks and even opening fire.
“The police were given a task to evict the encroachers and they were carrying out their work when they were attacked by people with stones and sharp weapons. There was firing from the police. The eviction drive will continue,” Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said.
However, the videos from the site show the policemen – in riot gear and armed with sticks and guns – thrashing a man who charged at them with a stick and shooting him. The blows with sticks don’t stop even as he lies motionless on the ground.
Officially, the police says nine cops and two civilians were injured in the eviction drive at Dholpur.
The Superintendent of Police, Darrang, told media that the locals resisted the eviction drive and started pelting stones. “Our nine policemen were injured. Two civilians were also injured. They have been shifted to hospital. Now things are normal,” SP Sushanta Biswa Sarma said.
Mr Sarma, who was at the site of the clash, added, “We couldn’t complete the eviction because of the situation. We will assess later. We are returning as of now.”
But when asked about the footage of the local being shot and then beaten, he said “The area is big. I was on another side. I will find out and assess the situation.”
There was already tension in the area since Monday as 800 families have been evicted.
Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had tweeted after the eviction drive on Monday, “I am happy and compliment district administration of Darrang and Assam Police for having cleared about 4500 bigha, by evicting 800 households.”
Continuing our drive against illegal encroachments, I am happy and compliment district administration of Darrang and @assampolice for having cleared about 4500 bigha, by evicting 800 households, demolishing 4 illegal religious structures and a private instn at Sipajhar, Darrang. pic.twitter.com/eXG6XBNH6j
— Himanta Biswa Sarma (@himantabiswa) September 20, 2021
The eviction is aimed at starting community farming by removing encroachment and the first phase was done on Monday when 800 households illegally occupying about 4500 bigha of land were evicted and four illegal religious structures and a private institution.
Earlier too, the cabinet had decided to free this government land of the illegal encroachers and convert it to a farming project.