THE UTTAR Pradesh government has attributed the deaths of “criminals” in police action in the state to the police acting in self defence when attacked with firearms or lethal weapons and sought to deny insinuations that minority community members were being targeted.
In an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court in response to a petition by NGO People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), the state said that four police personnel lost their lives and that of the 48 criminals killed, 30 belonged to the majority community and 18 to the minority community.
The affidavit filed by Sunil Kumar Pandey, Joint Secretary, Department of Home, Uttar Pradesh referred to the petition and some news articles attached to it and said that “most shockingly, the petition as well as some of the news articles selectively chose and mentioned certain criminals alluding them to be belonging to a particular religion who died in police action and is completely once-sided”.
The affidavit added, “I say it would be clear from a bare perusal of the list of criminals who were fatally injured in police action that the implication that criminals belonging to the minority community have been targeted is ex facie malicious and incorrect and to suit a predefined narrative about certain communities… 14 cases have been arbitrarily cherry-picked out of which 13 allegedly belonged to the minority community. I say that of the 48 criminals who have died in the above police actions, 30 belong to the majority community and 18 belong to the minority community.”
The state also submitted that “police action is not taken based on the accused’s religion, sex, caste, creed and birth/residence and in fact action has been taken as per the provisions of law without any discrimination against criminals wanted and absconding and involved in criminal act/activities”.
A total of 3,19,141 accused criminals were arrested and 98,526 surrendered before courts during the period, it said, adding that the fact that there were only 48 casualties “by itself is validation of the fact that the intention of the police personnel is only to arrest the accused”.
“In many such police actions, accused persons resisting arrest opened fire at police personnel (and) as a result police in discharge of duties assigned under CrPC and in self defence had to take action in retaliation. In counter action, 409 accused were injured and immediate medical facility were provided for their treatment. In these actions, 319 police personnel received firearms injuries and 4 police personnel lost their lives on duty in these police actions,” the affidavit stated.
The state also submitted that the police had complied with the procedure laid down by the apex court in all such instances.
It questioned the locus standi of the petitioners and said since it was a matter restricted to Uttar Pradesh, they should first have gone to the Allahabad High Court.