Assam: Police open fire at protesters, 2 dead

Police violence broke out as thousands protested against the Assam government’s ongoing eviction drive against “illegal encroachers” in Sipajhar in Assam’s Darrang district Thursday, leaving at least two people killed in police firing and several injured.

Graphic visuals of police firing and lynching protesters, mostly Muslims of Bengali origin have been accessed by Maktoob.

A recent eviction drive made over 4500 people homeless, leading the people to agitate against the government.

Earlier today, the victims held a demonstration against the eviction drive boasted by Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.

Darrang Superintendent of Police Susanta Biswa Sarma told media that police “did what they had to do” in “self defence”, as Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said the drive would go on.

Visuals show police firing indiscriminately at protesters in an open field. Another visual shows a photographer and police attacking a man. Some reports identified the attacker as an official photographer hired by the Darrang District Administration.

Ashraful Hussain, AIUDF leader, and Chenga MLA said the appeal of villagers against eviction is pending in the High Court while accusing the “terror force of fascist, communal and bigoted government” of shooting at its own citizens.

“‘Terror Force’ of fascist, communal & bigoted Govt. shooting at its own citizens. Also, who is the person with camera? Someone from our ‘Great Media’ orgs? The appeal of these villagers, against eviction, is pending in the High Court. Couldn’t the Govt wait till court order?,” reads his tweet.

Ainuddin Ahmed, a member of the All Assam Minority Students’ Union (AAMSU) told Indian Express that the residents in an area largely inhabited by Bengali-speaking Muslims, got eviction notices only on Wednesday night, between 10 pm and midnight.

“They were asked to clear out by 6 am the next day. These particular people have a pending case regarding the eviction in the Gauhati High Court,” he adds.

The Opposition had accused the government of going ahead with the eviction despite not having a “proper rehabilitation plan.”

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted: “Assam is on state-sponsored fire. I stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the state — no children of India deserve this.”