An Assam minister today expressed concern over the posting of a senior person like 58-year-old Nitya Nanda Goswami, the SP who was killed by insurgents along with his personal security officer, in a difficult area like Hamren police district, while an internal enquiry was ordered by the DG into Thursday night's killing. Health and Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said, "He (Goswami) was to retire in two years. Why such a senior person was posted in a difficult area like Hamren when we have many young SPs in the state?"
The Home Department should analyse this and should not treat it as a normal encounter case, Sarma told reporters after visiting the family members of Nitul Nunisa, Goswami's PSO who was also killed by Karbi People's Liberation Tigers (KPLT) insurgents. The Minister also stressed the need to modernise the arms used by policemen and give more training to them.
"Higher level enquiry should be initiated by agencies like CBI into the incident. Our government should take a positive step. Whatever enquiry is done, I will request CM sir to make public the report," he added.
Sarma also criticised the police for its alleged erroneous exercise of gun salute during Nunisa's funeral where only six rounds were reportedly fired instead of 21. "If it is true that only six rounds were fired instead of 21 rounds, the police should enquire it and let the public know what went wrong. Was it some malfunctioning of the weapon or something else?" he added.
The police came under sharp criticism from various quarters across the state today following reports that the police personnel could not fire the mandatory 21 rounds. Local TV channels were showing that policemen were even struggling to fit a magazine into the rifle and could not fire the gun.
Meanwhile, state DGP Khagen Sarma ordered an internal enquiry into the killing of Goswami and Nunisa, and the role of his colleagues during the encounter with the militants. "ADG (Training and Armed Police) Jyotirmoy Chakravarty will enquire the incident and submit his report as soon as possible," IG (Law and Order) S N Singh told PTI here.
Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has suspended four policemen for running away from the encounter site leaving Goswami and Nunisa behind. Goswami was leading an operation against the insurgent outfit in remote Rongthang forest area in Karbi Anglong district and came face to face with a large group of KPLT ultras who fired on them.
A 1993 batch Special Assam Police Service officer, Goswami had joined the police after taking voluntary retirement from the Air Force. He was the second senior police officer to be killed in the state by terrorist groups this year. Additional Superintendent of Police Gulzar Hussain was killed in Laudangi in Sonitpur district by NDFB (Sonbijit) militants in January.