Assam Police has killed the prime accused in a gang-rape case in an ‘encounter’ in Guwahati. Police shot dead Viki Ali when he allegedly tried to escape from custody. A few policemen were injured in the incident.
Assam Police said Ali had tried to escape from custody while being taken to the alleged gang-rape scene late on Tuesday for the reconstruction of the crime. Ali was rushed to the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital where doctors declared him brought dead.
Hear the culprit’s mother protest:
Police had arrested Ali on Tuesday in the morning. Four of his accomplices — Faijul Ali, Raja Ali, Poona Ali and Pinku Ali — are still at large.
Based on a complaint by the victim, a case was registered against the five, including Ali, at the women’s police station at Pan Bazaar in Guwahati.
Ali had first raped the minor on 16 February while one of his friends shot on his mobile phone the abominable act. On 19 February, using the video, Ali allegedly blackmailed the minor and subjected her to gang rape, along with his four friends at a city hotel.
Guwahati Medical College Hospital superintendent Abhijit Sarma said the person sustained four injury marks — one in the chest and three in the back. “He was brought to our hospital after 1 AM [Wednesday] where he was declared brought dead. Details of gunshot wounds will be available after post-mortem.”
Sarma said police officer Twinkle Goswami, the in-charge of Panbazar women police station in Guwahati, was injured in the incident. “The officer, who sustained minor injuries in her leg and hand, is admitted to the hospital. Her condition is stated to be stable.”
Ali and four others are accused of raping a 16-year-old student. He was arrested on Tuesday, a week after the police lodged a complaint in the case.
Assam Police had booked the accused under the Indian Penal Code, Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, and the Information Technology Act. Efforts are on to nab the other accused, the police said.
Ali’s killing is the latest in a series of such incidents in Assam since May last year when the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government returned to power with Himanta Biswa Sarma as the chief minister.
Sarma, who heads the home department, has asked police to be strict against criminals and even shoot them in their legs if they try to flee from custody or attack them.
The Gauhati High Court is hearing advocate Arif Jwadder’s petition filed in December, which alleges that 80 cases of fake encounters have taken place in the state since May 2021 and left 28 people dead. In his petition, Jwadder sought an order for the registration of cases over the alleged extra-judicial killings. He pleaded for an independent investigation by a high court judge and monetary compensation to the families of the victims. Jwadder also sought a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation, a Special Investigation Team, or a police team from another state under the court’s supervision.
The state government, Assam Police, National Human Rights Commission of India (NHRC), and the Assam Human Rights Commission (AHRC) have been named as respondents in the petition.
“It is stated that the alleged accused tried to snatch service revolvers of police personnel and in self-defence, police had to retaliate and kill or injure the alleged accused…It can’t be the case that all the alleged accused could snatch a service revolver from a trained police officer whose pistols are normally tied to a rope to the waist belt of the officer,” said the petition.
In an affidavit filed last month in response to the petition, the government said all legal procedures and NHRC guidelines were followed. It said 28 people have been killed and 73 injured in “encounters” between 10 May 2021 and 28 January this year.
In July 2021, Jwadder had filed a complaint against such incidents with NHRC, which sought a report from Assam Police in September. In November, NHRC transferred the case to the AHRC.