National Human Rights Commission Issues Enquiry Into 17 Cases Of Recent Encounters In Uttar Pradesh
Acting on the complaint filed by advocate Prashant Bhushan and rights group “Citizens Against Hate”, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has ordered inquiry into the 17 cases of extra-judicial killings in Uttar Pradesh. The commission has directed the formation of a team of five members comprising one Senior Superintendent of Police, two Deputy Superintendents of Police and two Inspectors. It has asked for a report on this within four weeks.
NHRC asks for formation of special enquiry team
A team of one SSP, two Dy.SPs and two Inspectors shall be constituted for the fact-finding enquiry of all the 17 cases where alleged encounter killings had taken place. The team is asked to record the statements of affected families and other necessary examination relating to the alleged incident of encounter deaths and to submit the report within four weeks. Mobile phone record of the victims and the police personnel involved, the logbook and vehicle details etc it to be submitted to NHRC.
NHRC observed that in each of the case a similar pattern of abduction before killing was followed. The commission has also taken note of the allegation that state-sponsored killings offers complete impunity for the police and no protection, compensation or procedural remedies for the victims are available to the families.
NHRC observed that “the police personnel in the state of Uttar Pradesh appears to be feeling free, misusing their powers in the light of an undeclared endorsement given by the higher-ups. It further appears that they are using their privileges / legal authority to settle scores with the people which in a civilized society, where rule of law is fundamental edifies cannot be accepted. The police force is to protect the people and this kind of alleged encounter killings would send a wrong message to the society by creating an atmosphere of fear which is not the correct way to deal with the crime or law and order as the case may be.”
Advocate Prashant Bhushan and Citizens Against Hate presented a report to NHRC on May 7, which showed nine cases of extra-judicial killings in Uttar Pradesh along with affidavits from the family of victims. The affidavits from the family were starkly different from the police version. Eight more cases were presented where families of the victims were not able to give affidavits or statements due to fear of the police.
This report documented the incidents of alleged encounter killings that took place between 2017-18.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan in a press conference called the extra-judicial killings “murders”. He said, “These are extra-judicial killings, murders. Such killings by police are probed by junior-level officers of the department and it cannot be independent. NHRC should get all such cases probed by its independent teams.”
The report has alleged that the encounter killings are “premeditated, extrajudicial executions.”
The report also stated that most of the victims were in fact from the socially vulnerable groups – Muslims, Dalits and Bahujans.
The report demands amendments to the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) and Indian Penal Code (IPC) for clear directions for recording statements of victim’s family and witnesses along with strengthening the role of NHRC to make its role more proactive in protecting human rights of victims and their families.