Question mark over quality of  Bhaskar Kalita’s  bullet-proof jacket

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HT Bureau

Guwahati, May 5: The state government conducted a probe into the killing of a police officer Bhaskar Kalita in an encounter with militants and to ascertain the quality of bullet-proof jacket worn by him.

This was informed by chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Saturday.

Kalita, officer-in-charge (OC), Bordumsa police station, was killed in an encounter with ULFA (Independent) militants on Friday night in Tinsukia along the inter-state boundary with Arunachal Pradesh.

Sonowal told reporters in Guwahati that a probe would be ordered to verify the quality of the bullet-proof jacket used by Kalita during the operation.

On the other hand, the chief minister also announced an ex-gratia of Rs 20 lakh to the family of the slain police officer while assuring that the family, in his absence, would be able to draw full salary till the time of his retirement.

The director general of police (DGP) Kuladhar Saikia said investigations would be done as to when the jacket was purchased, who was responsible for procuring it and the supplier involved.

Saikia also said that operations against the ULFA would be intensified to prevent the insurgent outfit from resorting to subversive activities.

The slain police officer’s wife Sangeeta Kalita, who works in the Assam Police’s Special Branch, questioned how “poor quality bullet-proof jackets were procured without considering the safety of its personnel”.

Kalita’s body was brought to Guwahati on Saturday where his last rites were performed.

Condemning the killing of Kalita, Sonowal directed the police to arrest the culprits at the earliest.

In a statement, the chief minister hailed Kalita as a brave and competent police officer and directed the DGP to travel to the site of the encounter and take steps for arresting the culprits at the earliest.

Referring to Friday night’s encounter, Sonowal said such incidents disturb peace, harmony and unity of society and seriously hamper the environment of developmental activities which would not be tolerated.

On receiving information about the presence of a group of ULFA(I) extremists in a house near Bordumsa, Assam Police and Cobra Battalion of CRPF led by Bhaskar Kalita raided the area near Bordumsa on Friday.

As the security forces cordoned off the area, the insurgents opened fire and in the exchange of bullets, the OC was shot dead, additional director general of police (Special Branch) Pallav Bhattacharyya said.

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