Guwahati, July 9 : Assam Congress leaders claimed on Friday that Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma with his recent comments on police encounters is trying to make the security personnel trigger- happy, thus setting a dangerous trend of disregarding human rights concerns.
State Congress President Ripun Bora said Sarma’s remark that firing upon criminals in custody by the police or while in chase should be a ‘pattern’ has dangerous ramifications of turning Assam into a police state.
“Sarma should be aware that the Supreme Court and the high courts have ruled that no matter how dreaded a criminal may be, he should be apprehended alive.
“The police have no right to fire at criminals at will. They can open fire only for self-defence and that too below the knee,” he told the media.
He said the Supreme Court has also said that if a criminal is fired upon even in self defence or otherwise, the police have to give a justification before the court for their actions.
Bora, a Rajya Sabha member from Assam, said that despite such ruling by the Supreme Court, a Chief Minister of a state passing a remark that firing upon a criminal should become a ‘pattern’ speaks volumes about his disregard for the judicial process of the country.
On July 5, Sarma, who also holds the home portfolio, while justifying the series of encounters in which at least 12 suspected insurgents and criminals were killed since he assumed office, had said that firing upon criminals by the police in custody or while in chase should be a ‘pattern’, triggering a political controversy in the BJP-ruled state.
The Congress leader said that Sarma had said some time back that all opposition MLAs should join the BJP, saying “what will they do in the opposition benches for five years?”
“Such remarks only reflect the total disregard for the whole democratic process of the country and destruction of the democratic values and his belief in autocratic dictatorship,” Bora said.
The Assam Congress President also said that Sarma’s remark on July 6 that the MLAs’ only role is to make laws in the Assembly as they have no role in the developmental work in their constituencies was not only abusive, but also an insult to the Constitution of India.
“Sarma had also recently said that Syama Prasad Mukherjee was responsible for the introduction of Assamese language in Calcutta University and that he was a proponent of the Assamese language.
“Perhaps the Chief Minister was not aware that prior to the establishment of Gauhati University, many students from Assam used to go to Kolkata (then Calcutta) for higher studies and it was due to the demands of the students that the Assamese language was introduced in the curriculum of Calcutta University,” Bora said.
The Congress leader said that when a person becomes arrogant and dictatorial, he automatically tries to use his power to misinterpret history to mislead the public.
“Some time back, Sarma had said that Syama Prasad Mukherjee had supported the late Gopinath Bordoloi in stopping the grouping of Assam with Bengal (present Bangladesh).
“As far as historical facts are concerned, there is no mention of his role in this. In fact, by trying to give credit to Syama Prasad Mukherjee, Sarma has only added insult to the efforts of the leaders of Assam like Gopinath Bordoloi and Bhimbar Deuri, who truly deserve the credit,” the Assam Congress chief said.