Houses of people accused of setting Assam police station ablaze demolished

1 month ago 12

The Batadrava police station was set on fire after the alleged custodial death of a fish trader

The Batadrava police station was set on fire after the alleged custodial death of a fish trader

The authorities in central Assam’s Nagaon district on Sunday demolished at least five houses of people involved in burning down a police station on Saturday following the alleged custodial death of a fish trader.

The police and officials of the Nagaon district administration reportedly used bulldozers to flatten the houses in the Salnabari area, which they claimed were illegally erected. The locals said the action was vindictive.

“We have documents to prove that we have been owning our land for decades and nothing had been constructed illegally,” a member of an affected family said.

Neither Nagaon’s Deputy Commissioner Nisarg Hivare nor Superintendent of Police Leena Doley took calls or responded to messages.

On Saturday afternoon, hundreds of people from the Salnabari area had stormed the Batadrava police station and set it ablaze, destroying documents, motorcycles and some firearms. They also thrashed some policemen, two of whom had to be hospitalised.

The incident happened after a fish trader identified as 39-year-old Safiqul Islam had allegedly died in police custody.

Members of Islam’s family accused the police of demanding ₹10,000 and a duck from him to let him go. They alleged he was beaten to death as they were too poor to pay the money.

Police deny charges

The police denied the allegations and said they had brought him to the police station after finding him lying on the road.

“He was booked after a medical check-up. The next day he was released and handed over to his wife. His wife even gave him some water/food. Later, he complained of sickness and he was taken to two hospitals, one after another. Unfortunately, he was declared dead,” Assam’s Director-General of Police Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta said.

“We take this unfortunate death very seriously and have put the Batadrava thana OC (officer-in-charge Kumud Gogoi) on suspension and rest of the staff closed,” he added.

A local police officer said three people have been arrested and 21 others, including 15 women, have been detained so far for setting fire to the police station based on the video evidence of the incident.

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