U.P. police encounter deaths a serious issue, says Supreme Court

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NEW DELHI, JAN 14:
The Supreme Court on Monday observed that a “very serious issue” had been raised in a petition seeking a CBI probe into ‘1,100 police encounters’ that occurred under the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh.
The petition, filed by People’s Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL), said 49 people were killed and 370 injured in the encounters. It termed them “massive administrative liquidations”. A Bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi adjourned the case to February 12.
In July 2 last, the court asked the State government to file its response to the petition.
PUCL has submitted that police encounters were endorsed by the State administration in “open defiance” of human rights and civil liberties. That is, the State machinery chose to end lives instead of bringing people for trial. “State cannot adopt such means which are against the constitutional principles to fight with terrorism or hardened criminals. Such extra-judicial killings in the name of encounters are considered ‘State-sponsored terror’,” the petition said. In this context, the petition refers to the reported statements made by Chief Minister Adityanath like “criminals will be jailed or killed in encounters” and “everyone should be guaranteed security, but those who want to disturb peace of society and believe in the gun, should be given the answer in the language of the gun”. The petition said the National Human Rights Commission had written to the State government in response to the Chief Minister’s statements, saying that police personnel were misusing their powers to settle scores. The Commission had said that “creating an atmosphere of fear is not the correct way to deal with the crime”.
The petition, which refers extensively to The Hindu reports on the police encounters, said facts available in public domain showed that over 1,100 encounters had taken place in the past year, wherein 49 people were killed and 370 injured.
“According to the figures given by the State of U.P. to the NHRC, in the encounters, 45 persons have died between 01.01.2017-31.03.2018. Each such encounter is required to be investigated on the basis of FIR, followed by a Magisterial Inquiry and thereafter, a criminal trial in accordance with law,” it said.

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