According to UP government figures, by January 2018, the police had conducted 1,038 encounters. In these, 44 people and four policemen were killed and 238 injured. The unofficial figures are far higher, where the total number of ‘encounters’ are estimated to be more than 1400. These ‘encounters’ entail, shooting at people, who may and may not be petty criminals or gangsters, without following due processes of law. National Police Commission (1979) to NHRC (2003) and the Supreme Court (SC) judgment in the PUCL case (2014) have clearly mandated against such random killing of people. But in UP, the police, in fact are getting encouragement and impunity from the highest echelons of power, in this case none other than the CM himself. United Against Hate launched a report titled Killing Fields of Uttar Pradesh: Public Tribunal on the Police Encounters under Yogi regime on 23rd March in the Constitution Club, New Delhi. Khalid Saifi from United against Hate welcomed all speakers. Here below are summaries of speeches by various speakers in the public tribunal.
Indira Jai Singh: On 5th March 2018 Sanjay Jaiswal asked about the number of encounters. Government sources claimed there were 37 death in 2017-18. The number was just 6 last year. CM Yogi says that he wants to make UP “apradh mukt” and he has made it clear that encounters is the way to achieve it. This country is probably going towards the days of Mafia rule in Italy when even judiciary is attacked by the goons. Amit Shah’s case is an example of that. She added that ideally FIRs should be filed against the police shooter in every instance of encounter. It should be the onus of the police to prove it to be in self defence. But actually it is the victim against whom FIRs are being registered. She said we should call these ambush instead of encounters. She added that today rule of law itself is an endangered species in the country.
SR Darapuri: What is clear is that encounters in UP is a state policy. May be all BJP govts. have had similar policies, like in Gujarat. The aim is to demoralise the public, to torment it and bring it to its knees. I have been in the force was 32 years and i have only seen one real encounter. Even in that I forced the criminals to surrender. And today there are four encounters per day. He said 99% of encounters are fake encounters. How does police get injured? I know very well the technique behind this. Injuries are faked. There are no proper injury reports released.
Rahul Tekchand: This country is called constitutional democracy, but in reality it seems to be getting worse than Syria or Lebanon. Its a political problem and needs a political solution. We have to resolve to fight this together.
Neha Dixit: In June 2017 Yogi gave an interview saying “apradh karoge to thok die jaaoge”. The local media is hailing it as “swachh badmaash mission”. While 42 people have been killed in a year , there have been 1138 encounters. About 300-400 have been shot in the leg. Without treatment they have been thrown in jails. Many of them are approaching amputation without treatment.
Rajiv YAdav: From Shamli to Muzaffarnagar – these are political encounters. The social dimension of the deaths show how these are political encounters, several amongst them had won in local elections. The message is that either come with us, or you will be killed. Just like Chidambaram while declaring Green Hunt has said, either you are with us, or against. There are bodies with 25 bullet wounds, what kind of encounter are these.
Asad Hayat Khan: After Batla House and a case n North East, Supreme Court said that enquiries into encounters will demoralise the force. This is dangerous.
Sumit Gujjar’s brother: We were told to raise money to get Sumit’s release. After that he was killed. Magistrate said justice will be delivered in one month, and now it has been six month.
Devender Gujjar, Sumit’s neighbour: These are “Sarkari hatya”, not encounter. He was told by the police themselves that basically Muslims are being killed, this was just to balance it out. Devender also added that 2019 elections are coming – this is to teach people a lesson. Gujjars went with Mulayam, this is to intimidate. And to spread hatred. They don’t need to do any development. They will make us fight with each other: Hindus with Muslims. This is their plan.
Mohseen from Ghaziabad said that her son was randomly picked up and shot in the leg. Her husband died of cancer, and now her son who was working as a welder also has been injured grievously.
Nakul Singh Sawhney from Chalchitra Abhiyan took videos from across Western UP some of which were screened showing a distinct pattern across the encounters.
Ali Anwar said these issues are political and the fight has to be political too against this fear.
Nadeem Khan from United Against Hate said we have to build a public movement against this reign of terror by doing more such tribunals across UP.
Note: This is the press release by United Against Hate conducted at Constitution Club, New Delhi on 23rd March 2018. To read the entire report you can click UAH Report
Brief Introduction of United Against Hate: We are a Delhi based group of conscientious citizens, academics, student activists who have been consistently campaigning against hate crimes, attacks on minorities, mob lynching and communal violence since July 2017. We have held a bike rally from Delhi to Mewat, conducted series of public meetings in different residential areas of Delhi and outside Delhi in Jaipur, Deoband and Lucknow. We have held protest demonstrations outside UP, Haryana and Rajasthan Bhavan after various incidents of mob lynching, encounter killing and infant mortality. We conducted a fact finding visit to Kasganj after the engineered communal violence and released a report to the press afterwards.