In yet another instance of Assam Police firing at an accused in a criminal case, a man arrested in a motorcycle theft case was shot in the leg in Kamrup district when he allegedly tried to escape from custody.
This is the 41st instance of police in Assam opening fire at accused in criminal cases since May.
Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who also holds the home portfolio, has earlier said police has "full operational liberty" to act against criminals within the ambit of law.
According to police, late on Sunday night, Nekibar Islam snatched the service weapon of a police officer of Bijoynagar police station in Kamrup district and tried to escape.
"We warned him first, but when he didn't stop, we had to shoot him in the leg," Bijoynagar police told the media.
Since May, 22 people accused in criminal cases have been killed and at least 32 injured in such incidents, said sources. In most of these cases, police have said they had to fire in self-defence when the accused attacked them or to stop them from fleeing.
Those fired at in these incidents include alleged insurgents and accused in cases of murder, dacoity and drug peddling, said sources in the police.
Nekibar Islam had earlier been arrested in several bike theft cases, said police sources. Following the injury, he was rushed to the nearest government hospital and then taken to Gauhati Medical College and Hospital.
Nekibar Islam was shot at a day after alleged cocaine peddler Bishal Kushum Choudhury and murder case accused Rinku Sarma were injured in similar incidents. Police have said both of them attempted to escape custody.
Out of the 22 accused killed in such incidents, 10 have been tagged as "known criminal" and "history sheeters" in police records. Nine of them are in the category of "militants" and three in "drug peddlers".
As per police records, 15 "criminals" -- those accused in cases of murder, dacoity, rape and theft -- are under treatment after being injured in police firing. Police records categorise four others as "drug peddlers" and four as "cattle smugglers".
Such incidents have prompted the National Human Rights Commission to register a complaint. The state human rights commission has registered a case and issued a notice to the Assam government. The state home department has sought more time to reply, the sources said.