20 October, 2020

Tinsukia Tinderbox

With polls due next month, army brutality keeps Assam ignited Updates

S. Mahanta
Tinsukia Tinderbox
When six soldiers of 1/3 Gorkha Rifles picked up Ajit Mahanta, 29, from his decrepit hutment in Hunjan Gossaigaon village in Tinsukia district on the night of February 4, they were just hours away from putting the entire army top brass in the line of fire. The troops, under orders from some junior officers, held Mahanta on charges of being a 'linkman' for the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA). The local police say they have no knowledge of Mahanta's ULFA links while his family and villagers have outright rejected the army's charge. But that's another story. The next day, Mahanta's body was found at the Assam Medical College Hospital, Dibrugarh, 80 km from where he was picked up. It was a clear case of custodial death.

The incident has put the army, which heads the Assam's counter-insurgency operations, in the dock. It also brought out thousands of frenzied protesters on the streets, leading to police firing on February 10 that killed nine civilians, apart from a CRPF man who was hacked to death by the mob. Besides, it forced the Eastern Command chief, Lt Gen...


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