GUWAHATI: The houses of five persons, suspected to be among those who set afire the Batadrava police station in Assam’s Nagaon district on Saturday, were demolished by the administration using bulldozers.
Special Director-General of Police (DGP) GP Singh said it emerged during investigation that a number of the suspects had encroached upon the land where they were settled or they managed to get land pattas with forged documents. He said a case was subsequently registered and the eviction drive carried out. However, the locals claimed these were not illegal structures.
Singh said seven persons were arrested while 14-15 others were detained by the police. He said a special investigation team would be formed and it would be given 45 days to complete the probe and 60 days to submit the chargesheet in court.
He said a team from the forensic science laboratory would visit the police station and conduct a probe to find out if petrol or kerosene-type fuel was used during the attack.
Singh also said that the death of fish trader Safiqul Islam in alleged police custody, which preceded the violence, would be probed by an additional superintendent of police. He said the autopsy had been conducted and the viscera preserved for forensic investigation.
The officer-in-charge of the police station was suspended while the other personnel were “reserve-closed”.
The attack was perpetrated by a mob of hundreds in protest against Islam’s death. The mob set afire the police station and some two-wheelers and beat up the cops.
Assam’s DGP Bhaskarjyoti Mahanta suspected the attack was not spontaneous but organised.
“The bad elements came in all forms – men, women, young and old. But the preparedness with which they came, the ferocious and organised attack they staged on police force has made us think deeper,” Mahanta said.
“We don’t think these are grieving relatives of the dead, but as we have identified, they were bad characters and their relatives with criminal records. Proof, incrementing evidences – all burnt down. So, (we) don’t think this is a simple action-reaction incident. There much more to it,” he added.
Mahanta warned that action would be taken against the perpetrators of the crime as well as any cop found guilty.
The wife of the fish trader alleged the police had picked him up on Friday night and demanded Rs 10,000 besides a duck from him. She said as the family could afford only a duck, the police allegedly beat him up and killed him.
The DGP rubbished her charges. He said Islam was brought to the police station after receiving a complaint of him being drunk and lying on a public road.
“He was booked after a medical checkup. 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. Unfortunately he was declared dead,” Mahanta said.