New Delhi: Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Monday justified a series of encounter killings while speaking at the first-ever face-to-face meeting with the Officers In-Charge (OCs) of all police stations of Assam.
“If an accused tries to snatch the service gun and run away, or even simply flee, and on top of it he is, say, a rapist, law allows shooting at such a person on the leg, but not on the chest,” Sarma said.
“When someone asked me whether shooting incidents are becoming a pattern in the state, I replied that (shooting) should be the pattern if it involves a criminal trying to escape police custody,” he said.
At least eight individuals – held for cattle-smuggling, rape, murder and drug-peddling – have received gunshot wounds while in custody, since Sarma took charge in May.
Sarma, who holds the Home portfolio, also directed the police to be strict with alleged cow smugglers. “Those who smuggle cows should be caught at all costs… I don’t even want it to go to the chargesheet stage because our cows need to be protected,” he said, adding, “A cow is like a god to us.”