Amid reports of increasing police encounters and killing of criminals, Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on July 5 said that there is no place for encounters in a democratic process to quell criminal activity, but if police are attacked with the bullet they will reply with the bullet.

“Criminal activity should be brought under control under provisions of the existing law, however, when police are attacked, they are left with no options but to fire back,” Sarma said after discussing with officers-in-charge (OCs) of all police stations in Assam.

Sarma’s comment assumes significance as after he took the reins of the state, the police are on an overdrive to smoke out criminals.

In the past two months, ambushes between police personnel and criminals have happened on frequent occasions raising questions about the modus operandi of the police.

Rejecting allegations that police under the new government are becoming trigger happy, Sarma said that in the last two months significant change has been observed in the rank and file of Assam Police and the relationship between the man in uniform and common citizens have improved.

He said that despite various problems faced by the police force, in the last two months the entire security apparatus has shown exemplary courage to nab the criminals.

He said that the immediate priority of the police to put a complete end to the rape and drug menace in Assam.

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