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Assam govt orders re-examination of all unnatural death cases

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GUWAHATI, Nov 11 (PTI): Chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Friday said he has ordered the police to re-examine all cases of unnatural deaths taking place in the state in the last one year.

Sarma said the incident in Darrang district in which a magistrate, superintendent of police and government doctors were arrested for shielding an accused in the rape and murder of a minor girl in Darrang district exposed the complicities of the government officials and their nefarious nexus with the accused, who is an SSB personnel.

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“In the recently held conference of the superintendents of police, we have asked them to reopen and re-examine all the similar cases which are a year old. We instructed them to revisit the cases of unnatural deaths, which were closed by the court or police by terming them as suicides,” he told a press conference here.

Other types of unnatural deaths like accidents and murders will also be looked into. “All such cases of the last one year will be revisited. From now on, the SP and the DIG concerned of the area will visit the crime scene and satisfy themselves with the probe. Unless they are satisfied, the case will not be closed,” Sarma said.

Asked how many cases will be reopened, the chief minister said the exact number will be known only after the reports from the districts. The last conference of all superintendents of police took place between October 9-10 in Golaghat district and was inaugurated by Union home minister Amit Shah.

Sarma said that while he has ordered revisiting of one-year-old cases, a common man can seek re-examination of even 15-year-old cases. “If something had happened in the past and you were not satisfied with the probe, you can approach the police now too. Criminal cases do not have any timeframe”.

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The chief minister said that the government is considering bringing in a “strong” standard operating procedure or amendments in existing laws regarding employment of domestic helps as cases of their torture and extreme brutality keep surfacing from time-to-time.

“After this (Darrang) case, I discussed with the police if altogether a new law is needed. The officials advised me that our existing laws under the IPC and POCSO are sufficient. We only need a strong SOP to implement those,” he added.

A Magistrate, an SP, an additional SP, an officer-in-charge of a police station and three government doctors have been arrested so far in connection with a case of the sexual assault, attempt to rape and murder of a 13-year-old domestic help in Darrang district in June this year.

“It is really unfortunate that all in the chain got compromised, besides the main accused who committed the crime. This is a sad development for the Assamese community because none of them are non-Assamese. We earlier used to blame non-Assamese people for such acts,” Sarma said.

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Terming the case and the follow-up developments as an “eye opener”, he urged the people to be vigilant so that such incidents do not recur in the future.

The incident had created an outrage in the state and the chief minister had visited the girl’s family on August 12 following their allegations that the police displayed extreme dereliction of duty in collecting evidence. They had also alleged that the Dhula police station in-charge had put pressure on them to not file a written complaint on the unnatural death.

This led to Sarma ordering the forming of a special investigation team by CID sleuths, which took charge of the case on August 17 and filed the detailed chargesheet on September 25 against the main accused, who is at present in judicial custody. The CID unearthed the illegal actions of the police, magistrate and doctors who conducted the first post mortem.



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