Forces were involved in fake encounter, claims CRPF IG
A CRPF Inspector General (IG), posted in the Northeast, has alleged that an encounter carried by a joint squad of security forces in Assam in March was fake and it killed two persons in cold blood claiming they were NDFB rebels.
Rajnish Rai, a 1992-batch IPS officer of Gujarat cadre, said he has conducted a "discreet" inquiry on his own chronicling how a team of the Assam Police, the Army, the CRPF, its jungle warfare unit CoBRA and the border guarding force Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) conducted the encounter on March 29-30 in Simlaguri area of Chirang district and killed what they called were two insurgents of the banned group NDFB (S).
Rai, in his 13-page report, alleged that information about the incident and FIR filed by the joint squad of forces present a "fictitious account" of the operation to "conceal pre-planned murders of two persons in custody and present it as some brave act of professional achievement".
The home ministry acknowledged receiving the report and said it is being studied and action on its content will be taken soon.
"It is with the CRPF DG and he is examining it. The DG is expected to send the report to the home ministry in a day or two," advisor to the home ministry Ashok Prasad said.
Late in the evening, CRPF DG Rajeev Rai Bhatnagar met Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi and briefed him about the report.
"The IG had sent the report when my predecessor was in charge. The state police is investigating the matter. So there is no need for any other immediate action," Bhatnagar told reporters.
The IG, deputy chief of the CRPF formations in the northeastern states after the additional DG, has also sent the April 17 report to the Chief Secretary of Assam and chairperson of the Unified Command of security forces, the Central Reserve Police Force headquarters here, the General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the 4 Corps in Assam and the Director General of the SSB.
Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said that he has not received any report till now and his government will conduct an inquiry once it gets it.
Rai has identified the two persons killed as Lucas Nazary alias N Langfa and David Islary alias Dayud as he alleged that they were "already" in the custody of the security forces and the entire encounter operation is "very likely to be a case of premeditated custodial killing".
The forces, the IG said, have mentioned in the FIR that the two were killed in an exchange of fire.
He said as multiple security forces are involved in the incident, "it is necessary to entrust the investigation of this matter to an external independent agency for an unbiased, impartial and thorough investigation."
"The security forces involved in the joint operation must truly reflect how systems and processes have weakened over a period of time, resulting in commission of such unlawful acts in a planned and coordinated manner.
"It is absolutely necessary that urgent systemic reforms be initiated to prevent such wrongdoings in future," Rai said in his concluding remarks in the report.