INDIA: Encounter killings are exposed as murder in Assam, yet police refuse to investigate


Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-163-2009
ISSUES: Administration of justice, Extrajudicial killings, Military, Police violence,

Dear friends, 

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information about the extrajudicial killing of two men by soldiers of the Kumaon Regiment, Assam. The men were reported to have been killed in an encounter incident, but they were in custody and had left notes hidden in their clothing that predicted their murder. The notes incriminate officers, a local lawyer and two villagers, and point to a set up which involves corruption. 


According to information we have received from the South Asia Forum for Human Rights (SAFHR), a human rights organisation working in India, Mr. Jainto Singh Gaur and Mr. Rajesh Bando had first voluntarily gone to the Kumaon Regiment army camp at Nathkuchi after meeting with a local lawyer, Mr. Giridhar Choudhury on 26 November 2008. They returned home after about 11 days accompanied by soldiers. 

Their families report that they had been encouraged to visit the lawyer by two villagers, Mr. Phulen Kalita and Mr. Nobojyoti Das, who they believe are associated with a local underground terror group, the Surrendered United Liberation Front of Asom (SULFA: see more in Background Information, below). 

Jainto was 28 years old, owned a small shop and was a student at the Sonapur Higher Secondary School, where he was Vice-President of the All Adviasi Students’ Association of Assam. Rajesh was 30 years old and owned a photocopying shop. 

During their time at the army camp the men were not detained: Jainto had visited some of his friends and his mother, Jashoda, his uncle Golap Singh and his aunt Lakheswari visited the two men there. The men told their families that they had been offered a deal by Choudhury: if they allowed army officers to falsely present them as surrendering cadres from the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), an ideological terror group, they would be eligible for payment and employment as part of an amnesty scheme by the state government. The two young men were told that they would receive telephone orders to return to the camp, and they reportedly did so twice, between December 2008 and April 2009. 

At 7am on 12 April Jainto and Rajesh left home to go to the army camp in Tihu; they had received calls asking them to do so the evening before. After that their phones remained switched off, so on 17 April both of their families went to the camp to find them. Officers there denied knowing the men’s whereabouts and ordered the families to leave, and when they returned a few days later they were given the same reply. On 28 April the families heard that two men had been killed during an ‘encounter’ in Haribhanga Supa, and when Jainto’s uncle went to the scene, he found out that the two killed were Jainto and Rajesh. 

Though villagers in Haribhanga Supa have told Jainto’s uncle that they had only heard two gunshots, the post-mortem examinations at Nalbari Civil Hospital revealed nine projectiles in Jainto’s chest (you can view a photo of the body here. Caution: graphic image). There are multiple compound fractures in the limbs of both men and ligature marks on their wrists as if their hands had been tied from behind. Though an advanced stage of decomposition had set in, police claimed that they had been killed that day. Because they were decomposing the family cremated the bodies a day later. 

When the victims’ possessions were returned the families found several notes hidden in them, written on small bits of papers, army canteen vouchers, a piece of toothpaste packaging, small bits of newspaper and a torn-off shirt collar. The notes reported that they had been detained, lured into a trap, and that they had heard that their murders were being planned. The notes accused Captain B.R. Singh, Phulen Kalita, Nobojyoti Das and the lawyer Giridhar Choudhary of colluding in their murder. 

The families filed a complaint at the Borbori Police Station, which was first accepted by the Officer-in-Charge (OIC). However after speaking with the District Superintendent of Police the officer said that the case couldn’t be filed. He gave them a false legal excuse: that a complaint had been filed by the army against the dead men, so no other counter-complaint could be made. 

The media reported the incident after the families organised a press conference. The army denied the allegations and declared, contrary to their original report, that the two men were terrorists from the ULFA 709 cadre. Amy officers in civilian clothing started to visit the families, asking them about the hidden notes in a intimidating manner. Though the families were allegedly assured a thorough investigation by Mr. G.P. Singh, a senior police official from Guwahati, on 15 May at Pathacharkuchi Inspection Bungalow, no case was registered or investigation ordered in the incident. 

Both families are preparing to approach the Guwahati High Court to request the direct intervention of the court, since their route to redress has so far been blocked. Neither the police nor the army have officially contacted the families to explain the two young men’s deaths; they have received all of their information through press statements and community news. 


An enquiry commission was authorised in 2005 to investigate the many killings in Assam between 1998-2001.The report (tabled in the state legislature on 15 November 2007) reveals the active role played by the then-Chief Minister, Mr. Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, the state police and SULFA, in extrajudicial murders. SULFA is an illegal criminal group with alleged political influence, made up of former ULFA cadres. The report criticised the widespread corruption taking place in and around a state scheme for the rehabilitation of surrendering ULFA militants. It also accused political parties in the state of using surrendering militants for short-term political gain. 

This scheme is extremely vulnerable to abuse. Under it the state and the armed forces are allowed to use varying tactics, including financial incentives and amnesty, to encourage the surrender of insurgents. Officers involved are sometimes rewarded with promotions or salary incentives. This makes it advantageous for officers to arrange for such surrenders, fake or otherwise. In this particular case there is strong evidence that a money making racket has developed between army officers and civilians, and that Jainto and Rajesh were murdered as a result. The lack of investigation into these cases and the legal and social indifference to supposed ‘encounter killings’, makes it likely that such murders will continue. 


Please write to the authorities named below seeking an intervention in the case. 

The AHRC is also writing to the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions seeking an intervention in the case.

To support this case, please click here: SEND APPEAL LETTER


Dear _________, 

INDIA: The extrajudicial execution of two men in army custody in Baksa district must be investigated 

Name of victims: 
1. Mr. Jainto Singh Gaur, son of Profulla Singh; Tekelibhanga; under the jurisdiction of Palashankuchi police station, Baksa district, Assam state. 
2. Mr. Rajesh Bando, son of Chomnu Bando; Tekelibhanga; under the jurisdiction of police station, Baksa district, Assam. 

Name of alleged perpetrators: 
1. Mr. Phulen Kalita, Tekelibhanga; under the jurisdiction of Palashankuchi police station, Baksa district, Assam. 
2. Mr. Nobojyoti Das 
3. Captain B.R.Singh, Kumaon Regiment, stationed at Tihu. 
4. Mr. Giridhar Choudhury, Advocate, Pathsala, Baksa district, Assam 

Date of incident: Between 26 November 2008 and 28 April 2009 
Place of incident: Baksa district, Assam 

I am writing to express my deep concern regarding the extrajudicial execution of two men in Assam earlier this year, and the lack of an investigation into it. I am informed that officers from the Kumaon Regiment are suspected to be behind the murder, along with a local lawyer and two villagers. 

According to the information I have received, the victims had visited the Nathkuchi and Tihu camp of the Kumaon Regiment a number of times on the advice of a local lawyer, Mr. Giridhar Choudhury, after they were introduced to him by persons 1 and 2 named above. The victims visited the camp at least twice at the instruction of the army officers and had returned home both times. However I hear that officers killed the victims on 28 April 2009, and have called it an encounter killing. 

I am aware that at the time of autopsy, a day after the official date of the murder, the men’s bodies were in an advanced state of decomposition. People residing near the place where the bodies were found have claimed that they had heard only two shots, yet the bodies had several projectiles lodged inside them. The two men had also suffered multiple and compound fractures on limbs before their deaths, with ligature marks on their wrists as if their hands had been tied from behind. This contradicts the official report, and raises strong suspicions about the use of torture, and the time and place of death. 

The families also discovered notes written by the victims’ and hidden among their belongings in detainment, which describe a trap involving a corrupt army captain and the local lawyer. The men had originally told their families that they had been offered a deal that would reward them if they allowed army officers to falsely present them as surrendering cadres from the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA). Despite these incriminating circumstances being released in the media, police have refused to register a case or start an investigation. 

I am aware that the government as well as the army has claimed that the victims were killed in an encounter on 28 April and that they were the members of the 709 Battalion of the ULFA, which is unsubstantiated. Even if a person is a terrorist, there is no law in India that legalises extrajudicial execution. 

I am aware that the families are approaching the Guwahati High Court seeking a judicial intervention in the case. In these circumstances, I request you to intervene to ensure that: 

1. A crime is registered to investigate the murder of the two men; 
2. The statement of witnesses, including the members of the victims’ families is recorded; 
3. An impartial and prompt investigation is conducted; 
4. The family members, if required, are provided with protection; 
5. The findings of the investigation are made public; 
6. The Assam Bar Council looks into allegations of the involvement of Advocate Giridhar Choudhury and acts accordingly and that; 
7. The families are paid an interim compensation pending the investigation of the case. 

Yours sincerely, 


1. Mr. A.K. Anthony 
Defence Minister 
South Block, New Delhi 
Fax: + 91 11 23015403 

2. Mr. P Chidambaram 
Union Minister of Home Affairs 
Ministry of Home Affairs, 104-107 North Block 
New Delhi 110 001 
Fax: +91 11 23094221 

3. Justice K. G. Balakrishnan 
Chief Justice of India 
Tilak Marg, New Delhi 110 011 
Fax: +91 11 23381508 

4. Lieutenant General Mr. Vijay Kumar Singh PVSM, AVSM, YSM 
GOC-in-C, Eastern Command 
Fort Williams 
Kolkata, West Bengal 

5. Chairperson 
National Human Rights Commission of India 
Faridkot House, Copernicus Marg 
New Delhi 110 001 
Fax: +91 11 23384863 

6. Mr. Tarun Gogoi 
Chief Minister of Assam 
Assam Secretariat, Dispur 
Guwahati-6, Assam 
Fax: +91 361 2262069 

7. Chief Justice 
Guwhati High Court 
FAX +91 361 2604122 or +91 362 2735863 (Registrar General), 

8. Mr. P.C. Sharma 
Chief Secretary 
Assam Secretariat, Dispur 
Guwahati-6, Assam 
Fax: +91 361 2260900 

9. Mr. Sankar Barua IPS 
Director General of Police 
Assam, Ulubari 
Guwahati-7, Assam 

Thank you. 

Urgent Appeals Programme 
Asian Human Rights Commission ( 

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID : AHRC-UAC-163-2009
Countries : India,
Issues : Administration of justice, Extrajudicial killings, Military, Police violence,