The National Human Rights Commission has ordered a fact-finding inquiry into 17 cases of extra-judicial killings in Uttar Pradesh and called for the report to be placed before it within four weeks.
The commission ordered an inquiry on a complaint filed by advocate Prashant Bhushan and rights group Citizens Against Hate, wherein they presented nine cases of extra-judicial killings in Uttar Pradesh supported by affidavits by the victims’ families that went against the police version of “encounters”. The complaint also covered eight cases where families were not able to give their statements on affidavits for fear of threats and intimidation by the police.
It has directed a team of five members to be constituted forthwith comprising “one SSP, two Dy.SPs and two Inspectors to make the fact-finding enquiry of all the 17 cases where alleged encounter killings had taken place by recording 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”.
It has also called for mobile phone call records of the deceased and the police personnel involved in the encounters, the logbooks, details of the vehicles used etc.
The NHRC took note of the similar pattern followed in each of these killings where the victims were abducted before being killed.
It was further alleged that since the present dispensation came to power in Uttar Pradesh, allegedly 1,200 encounters have taken place, many victim families harassed and victimised by police when they filed police complaints against those brutal extra-judicial killings.
The commission took note of the allegation that the situation leads to complete impunity for the police in the state-sponsored killings, in as much as, no protection, compensation or procedural remedies for the victims are available to the families who are having no defense to protect themselves from the ghastly acts alleged to have performed by the state machinery.
The commission after considering the facts stated in the news report presented before it 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”.
Considering the gravity of the matter, the commission has asked the “DG(I) to constitute an investigating team of five members, consisting of one SSP, two Dy.SPs and two Inspectors to make the fact-finding enquiry of all the 17 cases where alleged encounter killings had taken place by recording the statements of affected families and other necessary examination relating to the alleged incident of encounter deaths and to submit report within four weeks”.
“Out of these 17 cases, 15 are already registered with the Commission in which reports have been called for. Rest two cases are hereby registered by issuing notices to the Chief Secretary and the DGP of the State of Uttar Pradesh with a direction to submit detailed reports within six weeks,” it ordered.
The commission also directed the DGP of Uttar Pradesh to give necessary directions to the concerned investigating officers in all the 17 cases of alleged encounter killings to submit the status of investigation and produce documents pertaining to cases mentioned above before the commission and those documents must particularly include (i) FIRs registered in the cases; (ii) relevant chargesheets; (iii) general/ daily dairy register entry of the relevant police station, of the day of incident; (iv) wireless log book record of the relevant police station (or district police wireless headquarters, where such log is maintained) of the day of incident; (v) log book records of the day, of government vehicles used by all police officers engaged in the said encounters; and (vi) all call data records (CDRs) of mobile phones used by the deceased and by all police officers engaged in the encounter (date range: one week prior to date of encounter to one week following) within six weeks.