Assam eviction violence: Videos purportedly show district administration's photographer assaulting body

The incident took place in Sipajhar circle in Assam's Darrang district.

WrittenBy:NL Team
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Horrifying visuals circulated on social media after two people were allegedly killed and nine policemen injured in violence during an eviction drive in Sipajhar circle in Assam's Darrang district. The police, however, maintained that there were no casualties, according to NDTV.

The "anti-encroachment" drive was led by a team from the district administration accompanied by several policemen in riot gear and carrying weapons. One video purportedly showed the police open fire on an unarmed man protesting against the drive.

Another video showed a man running behind a photographer holding a camera. The police beat the man with batons while the photographer jumped on his body as he lay on the ground.

While sections of Twitter initially speculated that the man with a camera was a journalist, he has been identified as a photographer with the Darrang district administration who accompanied the eviction team.

Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma spoke to journalists in Guwahati following the violence. He said, "Police are doing their duty. As per my information, people attacked the police with machetes, spears and other things. Eviction has restarted [after violence] and will continue tomorrow as well."

A similar "anti-encroachment" drive had taken place on Monday in Dholpur's Garukhuti, where nearly 800 families were evicted to clear government land for an agricultural project. Those being evicted are predominantly Bengali-speaking Muslims, Hindustan Times reported.

Update

The photographer has been identified as Bijoy Bania. Late on Thursday night, Assam's director general of police Bhaskarjyoti Mahanta said Bania has been arrested and the CID has been asked to investigate the case. Bania is currently in the CID's custody.

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