UP: Police Kills Two In Encounter, Cops Invite Journalists To Film The Incident
In another case of encounter killings, two men, Mustakim and Naushad were shot dead by the Uttar Pradesh Police on the morning of September 20 at Aligarh in Uttar Pradesh. The incident was reportedly caught on camera as journalists were “invited” and the police even allowed them to film it. NDTV reported that video footage from the incident shows police personnel taking an aim and firing at the two men.
How did the encounter killings in UP take place?
Ajay Sahni, Aligarh’s police chief told NDTV that the incident occurred around 6:30 am wherein two men on a bike passed a police team, who fired at the latter when they tried to stop them. Upon chasing them, the two men went and hid in an abandoned government office building, which about four kilometres away. The police then called for reinforcements when they found the two men firing at the police from the building as well. Reportedly, both the men, who were shot at, were declared dead in the hospital. Reportedly, both the men had fired 34 rounds before finally being killed by the cops. Both of them were armed with .32 and .315 bore country-made pistols.
According to the Times Of India, a few local journalists received a tip-off from the police who asked them to reach Machua village under Harduaganj police station if they were interested to film a real encounter. The journalists and camera crew who were not protected by bulletproof vests were accompanied by the police and were asked to stay at least 100 meters away from the encounter site.
Aligarh SSP SSP Ajay Kumar Sahini told the daily that there was nothing wrong in calling media persons as they wanted to convey first-hand information to the police. He also emphasized the fact that there were orders “from top” to share details of each and every encounter with the media, thereby adopting a more transparent approach.
Reportedly, police claimed that they were on a lookout for the two men for a few days and had a reward of Rs 25,000 on their heads. Over the last month, these two men have been accused in at least six murders including the deaths of two priests, a couple and two farmers. On September 19, five other people who are all Muslim men were arrested in connection with the murders.
Reportedly, the families of both the men killed in the encounter held a press meet where one of the man’s mother claimed that the police had picked up her son on September 16 and that he was murdered in cold blood.
Encounter killings in Uttar Pradesh
Earlier in May 2018, with the killing of Rehan, the number of criminals killed in 1,700-odd encounters became 50. The Uttar Pradesh Government has claimed that 66 people have been killed in police encounters since March 2017, from the time the Adityanath government took charge. While the number of encounters is over 1,000 to date, not only have hundreds of people been arrested so far but police personnel have been left injured.
This has not only drawn criticism from the opposition but the National Human Rights Commission has even issued notices to the state government on several occasions. According to The Hindu, the NHRC in February had said, “It seems that the police personnel in U.P. are feeling free, misusing their power in the light of an undeclared endorsement given by the higher-ups. They are using their privileges to settle scores with the people.”
The Logical Indian Take
Yogi Adityanath’s government thinks UP can be made crime-free with encounters. Allegedly most of the encounters have taken place because the criminals opened fire first.
In January 2018, an eight-year-old boy was shot dead by Uttar Pradesh Police when they were in the middle of an “encounter” to kill alleged criminals in Mathura’s Mohanpura village. The kid’s grandfather said that he was playing outside with his friends when he was shot in the head. As per data received from the annual reports of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Uttar Pradesh accounted for a surging 44.5% (794 cases) of the cases registered across all states.
The NHRC, earlier, in a press release, stated: “Elimination of a criminal in such an unlawful manner can never send a good message to a civilized society. As has been emphasized time and again, the police do not have a right to take away the life of a human being. It is not the lawful way to deal with criminals.”
However, the Uttar Pradesh government continues to kill alleged criminals.