India

Five Muslim houses bulldozed in Assam as locals protest over alleged custodial killing

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A bulldozer demolishes houses in Assam. [Photo: Twitter]

Assam: The Administration of Nagaon in Assam on Sunday demolished the houses of five Muslim families who allegedly protested and set fire to a police station following an alleged custodial killing.

A mob allegedly set Batadrava police station on fire in Nagaon district after a man was allegedly killed in police custody on Saturday.

“We are investigating the allegations. Three have been detained among persons who attacked the police station. Two police personnel have been injured in the attack,” reports said quoting Leena Doley, Superintendant of Police, as saying.

Meanwhile, Assam Police suspended the officer in charge of Batadraba police station to ensure a fair probe in the matter of the killing of Safiqul Islam in custody.

“We take the unfortunate death of Safiqul Islam very seriously and have put the OC of Batadraba thana on suspension and the rest of the staff closed. If there is any foul play at our end, we mean to find that and punish the guilty according to the law. No second thoughts,” news agency IANS quoted Assam Director General of Police Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta as saying.

He claimed that the police station was set on fire as part of an “organised attack”.

“Local bad elements took law onto their own hands and burnt down the thana. These bad elements came in all forms: women, men, young and old. But the preparedness with which they came, the ferocious, organised attack they staged on police has made us think deeper. We do not think these are grieving relatives of the dead, but as we have identified, they were bad characters and their relatives have criminal records- records that were there within the thana. Proof, incrementing evidences – all burnt down,” said the DGP.

Police said the police station fire was not just an action-reaction incident and the matter will be thoroughly investigated.

We will act even tougher against elements who think that they can escape the Indian justice system, by burning down Police Stations. We will simply not allow this. Let this be a warning to all antisocial and criminal elements,” said DGP Mahanta.

The entire episode started with the death of Islam. He was brought to the atadrava police station on the basis of a complaint that he was “drunk.” His family members claimed, as reported by TIE, that the police at the Batadrava station demanded Rs 10,000 and a duck as a bribe for his release.

According to a 25-year-old resident of the village, Islam’s wife and niece visited the police station with a duck on Friday night, but were asked to “arrange” for money by the police. “When they returned, the next morning, they found that he was unwell and accompanied him to the dispensary nearby. The case was referred to the civil hospital but he died on the way,” Muslim Mirror quoted the resident as saying.

Reacting to bulldozing of houses, Congress MLA Abdul Khaleque said in a tweet, “We never support attack on police station . But buldozing houses of attackers by police is direct violation of human rights.” The developments were condemned by AIUDF MLAs as well.

 

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