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AHRC directive to govt on deaths during CAB/CAA stir
 GUWAHATI, Sept 15 - The Assam Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has directed the State government to complete within one month the enquiry into the killing of four persons during the agitation against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB) and the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) last year.

 The interim order was based on a complaint filed on December 19 last year by Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) president Ripun Bora. The Congress leader, with assistance from the APCC legal department, had approached the AHRC seeking high level enquiry, besides seeking compensation for those killed in police action and for “appropriate proceedings to be initiated to punish those who were involved in their killing”.

“The complaint was filed on December 19 last year... And on December 23 the AHRC, taking cognizance of the matter, had directed the Chief Secretary to conduct an impartial enquiry and submit report,” APCC legal department chief Niran Borah said during a press conference here today.

Borah said several dates were fixed for hearing subsequently but he alleged that the State government kept sending letters to the AHRC on each occasion seeking more time to complete the enquiry.

“After that the lockdown started. The enquiry report has not yet been submitted. Yesterday the AHRC held a hearing and passed an interim order, wherein specific direction has been issued to the Assam government,” he said.

Quoting the operative portion of the order, Borah said the Commission has directed that “The enquiry/investigation, etc., conducted by the enquiry officers appointed... should be completed within one month from the date of receipt of this judgment.”

The order further added, “On the failure of completing the enquiries, the jurisdictional deputy commissioners do pay a sum of Rs 3 lakh only to the next of kin of Late Iswar Nayak and Abdul Alim (who were above 18 years old at the time of their death) and a sum of Rs 2 lakh to each of the next of kin of the Late Dipanjal Das and Sems Staford within the next one month. In the event of the enquiries having been completed in the interregnum and if all or any of the deceased are found innocent, the ex gratia payment due to the next of kin of all or any of the deceased so found innocent be paid within one month from the date of receipt of this judgment.”

With regard to the death of the fifth person, Dwijendra Panging, who was a resident of Dibrugarh, Borah said the AHRC has received a report of the Additional District Magistrate, Dibrugarh, who conducted the enquiry. “However, we cannot agree to the findings of the report regarding the death of Panging,” he said.

He quoted the order which states that as per the report, “Late Dwijendra Panging was out on the street during the time of curfew. Circumstantial evidence points to the fact that he might be handled (sic) during use of force by security forces deployed on law and order duty. But due to lack of evidence and due to denial of the family for post mortem of the body of Late Dwijendra Panging and rejoinder submitted in response to the media report, it is difficult to ascertain the exact reasons of the death.”

Borah said that the APCC legal department is likely to file a writ petition in the Gauhati High Court against findings of the enquiry report on the death of Panging, if any next of kin of the victim comes forward to sign the vakalatnama.

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