Assam man picked up during counter-insurgency operation dies in custody; probe ordered

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Authorities in Assam’s Jorhat district have ordered a magisterial inquiry after a 30-year-old man, who was picked by during a counter-insurgency operation, died in custody.

Jayanta Bora, a resident of Kakodonga village, was picked up by a joint team of Indian Army and state police on Sunday night. He was declared dead on arrival later at the Jorhat Medical College Hospital (JMCH).

According to district officials, a team of 244 Field Regiment of the army based in neighbouring Charaideo district and police personnel of Borholla in Jorhat carried out the search operation based on information of the presence of ULFA-I and NSCN-IM cadres in the area.

During the operation, Bora, whose father is an ex-serviceman, was picked up from his residence on suspicion of being a United Liberation Front of Assam-Independent (ULFA-I) cadre.

Bora was first taken to the Borholla police station where the army “reported the person was feeling uneasy”. He was first taken to the local health centre and from there to JMCH where he was declared brought dead.

Alleging torture by army and police as the cause of Bora’s death, residents of the village refused to accept the body.

Roshni Aparanji Korati, Jorhat’s deputy commissioner, ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident on Monday.

“We have directed the inquiry report to be submitted within 10 days. I have also written to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to look into this incident,” Korati said while speaking to journalists.

On Tuesday, three Assam police personnel were suspended in connection with the incident. The police have also registered a case and are investigating.

“Chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal assured that the case will be tried in a fast track court. A sum of Rs 6 lakh will be given to the deceased’s family as well as a government job to a kin,” Atul Bora, the state’s agriculture minister who visited Bora’s family on Tuesday, said.

Following the incident, a meeting of the unified command comprising the army, police and administrative officials was held in Guwahati on Tuesday to discuss the security scenario in the state as well as counter-insurgency operations.