Police in Uttar Pradesh shot dead a wanted man Thursday, the eighth person killed in 60 encounters across districts in the last 25 days. The total count of alleged criminals killed since the BJP government took charge of the state in March last year is now 38.
Police said Manoj Kumar Singh, accused in 17 cases, was killed in retaliatory firing around 3.30 am Thursday in Hariharpur village of Sitapur district.
According to data sourced from DGP Headquarters, as many as 1,142 encounters were recorded between March 20, 2017 and January 31 this year.
Official figures put the number of dead at 34 — four more have been killed since January 31 — and the injured at 265. The total number of arrests made was 2,744. In these encounters, 247 police personnel were injured.
Police and magisterial inquiries have been ordered into every encounter killing. While none has so far accused the police of staging an encounter, there are several cases in which both inquiries are pending.
On Thursday, the Opposition alleged that many innocents had been killed in these encounters. In the UP Assembly and Legislative Council, Samajwadi Party legislators carried placards with the slogan “nirdoshon ka farzi encounter bandh karo (stop killing innocents in fake encounters)”.
When his comments were sought, Principal Secretary (Home) Arvind Kumar said all SSP and SP rank officers have been directed to form dedicated teams to arrest criminals who have been absconding. In some cases, during police attempts to arrest the accused, a confrontation takes place and this (encounter) happens, Kumar said.
Kotwali police SHO Jainudeen Ansari said: “This is what happened in Sitapur today.” He said two wanted men were spotted on a motorcycle and police tried to stop them. “But they fired at us. Police retaliated and in the firing that followed, a man was shot. He was later identified as Manoj Kumar Singh,” he said. The other person on the motorcycle escaped, he said.