In a report released on Tuesday, human rights group Citizens Against Hate (CAH) claimed to have found that 16 cases in Uttar Pradesh and 12 in Mewat, Haryana, were “premeditated extrajudicial executions” — or fake encounters — even as top officers of UP and Haryana Police maintained that they do not conduct fake encounters.
The report stated that bodies of “all victims showed visible signs of torture along with close-range bullet injuries above the waist”. It quoted some family members as eyewitnesses in alleged abduction by the police, or entrapment by their network of informers.
Stating that UP Police has launched a “concerted campaign against hardened criminals”, state Additional D-G (Law and Order) Anand Kumar said, “Encounters are always fortuitous and never a part of state policy. They only happen when desperate and audacious criminals fire at the police, when the police attempt to arrest them.”
Calling the allegations “baseless”, Haryana DGP B S Sandhu said, “We don’t indulge in fake encounters. We don’t have any agenda to torture or harass any innocent person. There are clear instructions for the same. If we get any complaint in this regard, it would be verified and inquired. As of now, we haven’t received any such complaint…”
Referring to 50 encounter killings in UP over the last eight months, senior advocate Prashant Bhushan said, “Almost all these encounters are fake. They are not encounters — they are cold-blooded murders by the police…. These encounters are being conducted after stating that these people are criminals. Some of them may have had a criminal history but…there are many against whom cases have been slapped at the last minute.”
The CAH report stated, “Basic procedures of criminal investigation, such as recording seizure memos and spot panchanamas, appear not to have been followed in many cases.” It claimed that autopsy reports contradicted the police version in the FIR. “Most bodies had tattooing marks and blackening of skin around bullet holes, indicating close-range shooting and not a shoot-out. Most (bodies) also had direct hits on the body, making a shoot-out implausible,” it stated.
On Monday, families of nine people killed in encounters by UP Police had approached the NHRC. They demanded impartial probe.
On Tuesday, ADG Kumar said UP Police holds the NHRC in “highest esteem, implementing its guidelines in letter and spirit”. The Haryana DGP said, “In case of any encounter, a report is sent to the NHRC immediately. The postmortem process of the body in such case in videographed.”