The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Thursday has issued order for investigation into alleged cases of extra-judicial executions in Uttar Pradesh carried by the state police with full “impunity” at the behest of the State’s BJP-led government.
After scrutinizing both the complaints and the supporting documents which included FIR, postmortem reports, GD entries presented by the victim’s families of the extra judicial killing, the e NHRC has issued an order and notice on May 9, 2018 to the Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police, Government of Uttar Pradesh.
The notice states that documents prima-facie show that there may be chances of failure on the part of the state to adhere to the guidelines issued by the Apex Court and the Commission and police authorities exceeding the jurisdiction at the time of alleged encounter killings. The Commission also noted that it had taken suo-motu cognizance of the matter on 22nd November, 2017 and in an order issued to the Government of Uttar Pradesh had observed that the police personnel appear to be feeling free, misusing their powers in the light of an undeclared endorsement given by the higher ups. The notice further states that the report called for from the Government of Uttar Pradesh was considered by the Commission on 4th May, 2018.
The families of victims of “fake encounters” from the state demanded the probe into these cases. Recently, under the leadership of noted Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan and members of the fact-finding team of Citizens Against Hate, they met the NHRC Chairperson, H.L. Dattu and presented him a complaint of nine cases of extrajudicial killings in the state. The complaint was presented along with affidavits of the victims’ families that completely demolished the police version of alleged “encounters”.
They also presented was a fact-finding report by civil society organizations, of another 8 cases where families were not able to give their statements on affidavits for fear of threats and intimidation by the police. The complaints highlighted that the alleged police encounters were not spontaneous shootouts rather instances of planned and pre-meditated extrajudicial killings. The encounter narrative of the police shows a repetition of the sequence of events with a strikingly similar pattern followed in each of these alleged encounters. The complaint also highlighted similar circumstances in most of the alleged encounter killings like the abduction of the victims before the incident. The complainants requested the NHRC to take serious notice of these killings, order an immediate impartial investigation in the 17 cases presented before it and take strict action against the concerned Police officials in accordance with the Supreme Court guideline and NHRC guidelines on encounter deaths.
Civil group United Against Hate hailed the Commission decision of constituting an investigating team of five members, to conduct an in-depth fact-finding enquiry of the 17 cases mentioned in the complaints, record the statements of the affected families and carry out other necessary examination relating to the alleged incident of encounter deaths, and submit a report within four weeks.
Fact Finding member Fawaz Shaheen said the Commission has also issued notices to the Chief Secretary and the DGP of Uttar Pradesh, to submit all the requisite reports to the Commission in the 17 cases mentioned in the complaint, within six weeks.
The Commission has also directed the Investigating Officers in all these 17 cases to submit within six weeks, the status of investigation in each case and produce documents pertaining to these cases, which must particularly include the FIRs, charge-sheets, and daily diary register entries of the police stations, wireless logbook records, logbook records of government vehicles used by the accused police officers on the day of the incident. The Commission has also asked for the call records of the mobile phones used by the deceased, and by all the police officers engaged in the encounter.