A day after the Assam government’s forced eviction of hundreds of Bengali Muslim families from their homes accusing them of illegally occupying government land and police violence towards demonstration against eviction which killed two and injured several people, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma justified the police action and said that “the anti-encroachment was not done overnight and discussions were on for four months.”
“We expected no resistance, but about 10,000 people gheraoed the Assam Police, used violence. It was then that police retaliated,” Sarma told the presser.
The two killed in police firing included 32-year-old Moinul Hoque, the video of whose shooting went viral on Thursday, and Sheikh Farid, 12, a Class 7 student, both of this area in Sipajhar in Darrang district.
When asked about the viral video in which a photographer Bijoy Banya hired by the government authorities and a cop were seen brutally killing Moinul Hoque, Assam CM said, “You cannot demean state govt with one video.”
“Yes, I condemn what the cameraman did (stomping on the 32-year-old as he lay injured), but that is just 30 seconds of the entire episode. But what is going on for four months?” he adds.
The shocking video showing Bijoy Banya slinging a camera and hitting Hoque as he lies motionless on the ground with a bullet wound on his chest, surfaced after the incident. The public protest had erupted over the demand for rehabilitation of 800 families who had been evicted from their homes where they had been living for decades.
A 12-hour bandh was called in the state on Friday by various organisations to protest the death of two Muslims in police firing a day ago. A Congress delegation, comprising its state chief Bhupen Bora, Rajya Sabha MP Ripun Bora, deputy leader of Congress Legislature Party Rakibul Hussain and other senior leaders, staged a protest outside the Darrang deputy commissioner’s office in district headquarters Mangaldoi.