Assam: Hours after arrest, Muslim youth killed after being run over by police vehicle

Representative image.

Ashikul Islam, a Muslim youth who was booked for allegedly inciting a mob to burn down the Batadrava police station in Assam’s Nagaon last week following the custodial death of Safikul Islam, run over by a police vehicle while he was allegedly trying to escape custody.

He was declared brought dead by the hospital.

“The accused, Ashikul Islam, was booked by the police on Sunday, and we took him in for questioning. During the interrogation, Ashikul had admitted that he had stored arms in his house. So, our team went looking for the arms. After the search operation ended, on the way back he tried to escape from the car and the escort vehicle behind him accidentally ran him over,” Indian Express quoted Nagaon SP Leena Doley as saying.

Since the Himanta Biswa Sarma-led BJP government assumed power in Assam in May, 47 people were killed by police. Out of the people identified, at least 20 were Muslims.

The torching of the Batadrava police station last Saturday had followed the custodial death of Safikul Islam, a 39-year-old local fish-seller from the Salonabori village.

Since then, at least 11 people including Safikul Islam’s wife, daughter and Ashikul Islam as were booked for arson. The police have said they invoked draconian UAPA against the accused.

A day after Saturday’s mob protest and arson, the government authorities on Sunday had demolished homes of those who had allegedly set fire to the police station. This included Safikul Islam’s home.

Safikul Islam was detained by the Assam Police late on last Friday evening when he was going to board a bus for Sivsagar. Islam’s family said that the police had demanded Rs 10,000 and a duck as a bribe to release him. “We could only afford a duck, so they [police] beat him to death,” Islam’s wife said. Islam’s wife was told that her husband had been taken to Nagaon Civil Hospital, where she found him dead.