The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has taken suo motu cognizance of media reports claiming that the Government of Uttar Pradesh has endorsed encounter killings by the Police citing the law and order situation in the State. A detailed report has been demanded from the State within 6 weeks.
A press release issued by the Commission cites official statistics available on 5 October. As per these statistics, 433 such encounters have occurred since the present Government took over in March this year. 19 alleged criminals were killed in these encounters, while 89 were injured. Besides, 98 officials were injured and one died in the process.
It then goes on to cite a news report published on 19 November, which had claimed that the State was taking pride in such statistics, claiming that this was a proof of improvement in the law and order situation. The Chief Minister was quoted as saying, "Criminals will be jailed or killed in encounters".
Condemning such attitude, the release then states, "It has observed that even if the law and order situation is grave, the State cannot resort to such mechanism, which may result in the extra judicial killings of the alleged criminals. The reported statement of the Chief Minister tantamount to giving police and other State governed forces, a free hand to deal with the criminals at their will and, possibly, it may result into abuse of power by the public servants. It is not good for a civilized society to develop an atmosphere of fear, emerging out of certain policies adopted by the State, which may result into violation of their right to life and equality before law."