Police encounters reach all- time high in Yogi’s Regime

Dalits and Muslims targeted, media pampers govt.

SYED WAJID

Since Chief Minister Ajay Bisht popularly known as Yogi Adityanath assumed office as the state head, police encounters have reached an all-time high in Uttar Pradesh. Looking cursorily at the statistical summary, more than 1850 have been executed in which 40 people have so far been slain but the ground reality speaks against the facts established so far in this connection.

Notorious gangsters dealing in terror on the turf of western UP’s Bhagpat, Badhaut,Shamli, Meerut, Muzaffarnagar and even Ghaziabad, believed to be a nursery of crime that produced criminals like Sundar Bhati, Nafees Kalia, Sunil and Babboo Tyagi, Mahender Fauji, Madan Gopal alias Madan Bhaiya, Mukeem Kala, Vikki Tyagi, Anil Dujana Sushil Moonchh and many more on the list made gory history.

Mustafa aka Khatta, carried a bounty of rupees 2 lakh on his head, Saharanpur police killed him. Another police encounter of Rahul in Baghpat with the like reward was killed by the police that brought a sense of security, peace and happiness among people after these killings and people were really scared of them. There was no murmur from the families of these slain criminals. But now people have taken to the streets to raise their voice against ‘killings’ in UP.

The facts most glaring are the families of many ‘criminals,’ who were killed in various police encounters in western Uttar Pradesh, have made different claims. Furqaun (43) from Titarwada was killed in a joint action by Muzaffarnagar police and STF. His wife Nasreen claims that since he had been lodged in jail for seven years, how he could commit a crime like robbery. There is a similar case in Kakrauli area of Muzaffarnagar. Nadeem (32) of Bagowali village was killed by the Kakrauli police. Nadeem’s aunt, Samreen, says he had come back from Tihar jail after eight years. He was arrested in a minor case soon after and then the police said that he escaped from the police station and was later killed by the police. Yunus from the same village says that he was better off in Tihar jail. Furquan’s case was also the same. Furquan’s five brothers are still in jail and his father Mir Hasan says, “It’s better that they remain in jail. If they come out, the police will kill them.” There is another rumour doing the rounds in Kairana that it was the police who got Furquan out of the jail and that they killed him in a ‘fake’ encounter thereafter.

A third instance of police encounter of Zulfan (41) of Bhopa was a rickshaw driver, he was forced into a white Bolero. The local residents raised the alarm about it. Zulfan’s brother Gulfam took Morna village pradhan Shahzad’s help and gave this information to the police after dialling 100. The local police station was also informed about it but they did not register the report. According to Gulfam, on the third day, he came to know through a WhatsApp message that Zulfan was shot in the leg by the police. Gulfam said that there was a ten-year-old case against Zulfan in which he was acquitted. Now he is in jail and his wounded leg will never heal. The police shot him right below his knee.  Gulfam said that the police now admit to their mistake and they are now pressurising them for a compromise only after a complaint against the police was filed with State HRC.

In Noida, Sumit Gurjar of Chirchita village was killed in a police encounter and the incident now has become a political issue. People staged demonstrations against this killing and there was a lot of anger in the Gurjar community about this. SP leader Atul Pradhan even got arrested. There was only one case registered against Sumit and he was only 19 years old. There is another person named Sumit in the same village and there are 6 cases registered against him. Sumit’s family claims that police did not investigate the matter properly and killed him because he had the same name. The inspector who killed Sumit in the encounter was promoted. Parveen Kumar, Brother of Sumit Gurjar expounded.

According to UP Government’s statistical figures by January this year, the police had conducted 1038 encounters in which 44 people and 4 policemen were killed and 238 injured but the unofficial record has a lot more to say.

It is important to note here that Inspector Chaman Singh Chawda of Budhana, who killed Furquan in the encounter and Inspector PP Singh of Khatauli who killed Jaan Mohammad were also promoted to the post of Circle Officer (CO).

The killing of Salim in another police encounter in Saharanpur is a different story altogether. The credit for this encounter was given to Inspector Munendra Singh. He was suspended on the charges of negligence during the clashes between Dalits and Thakurs in Shabbirpur. At that time, he was in charge of Badgaon. The inspector of the close by Deoband police station, Chaman Singh, has now become the CO. Salim’s family members have accused that he was killed in a fake encounter.

The most shocking story of OTP (Out-of-Turn Promotion) has come from Kakrauli. Months ago, Anil Singh was deputed here as the Thana in-charge. He was a sub-inspector at that time, after Nadeem’s encounter, he was awarded with the charge of  Kotwali which is  ideally given to the police officers with three stars, an inspector rank.

According to data, 88 police officers have been wounded in these encounters, most of them have been wounded in the arm only and many a time the bullets graze past them whereas the criminals were shot and wounded in the legs.

Most of the police encounters have taken place in the Meerut range; CM Yogi highly praised Additional Director General of Police Prashant Kumar. “We will continue replying to bullets by bullets.” Kumar said. Many big time criminals of this area either have surrendered or have been lodged in jail. Aditya of Bijnaur and Ruchin Jaat of Muzaffarnagar with a bounty of rupees Rs 1 lakh each on their heads had to surrender in the court.

The police of different districts particularly in western Uttar Pradesh have a sense of ‘encounter rivalry’ they literally compete with each other on the count of encounters commissioned.

When the Muzaffarnagar police shot dead Vikas Jaat who was accused of killing SP leader Balander and his mother, the Meerut police SSP Manzil Saini was annoyed and he suspended the entire Crime Branch team.

In a nutshell, these encounters are well planned.

The entire spate of encounters have not only been justified, but also celebrated by the media and the UP police as their brave clampdown on organised crime. The victims have all been declared as hardened criminals who had bounties declared on their heads by the police. However, ground reporting by some journalists like Neha Dixit has scratched many layers off the truth beneath, and allegations by the family members of the deceased and the injured shed light on these killings in UP, they might be extra judicial-killings. Many of the ones killed or injured might not be criminals at all. This only adds to the extreme violation of law and human rights by the police. The social profile of the slain people in these encounters reveals that many of them come from the marginalised sections comprising Dalits, OBCs and Muslims.

According to the police,1142 encounters have taken place between March20,2017 and January 31,2018. The highest numbers of encounters were reported from Meerut zone where 449 encounters were executed, followed by Agra and Kanpur zone.

Western UP has been affected more than the eastern zone in the number of cases of shootouts Shamli, Muzaffarnagar, Saharanpur and Baghpat are the worst affected. ​​​​
Total number of Police Encounters in Pradesh :

1) Lucknow               38
2) Agra                      210
3) Meerut                 449
4) Allahabad             54
5) Bareilly                196
6) Gorakhpur            31
7) Kanpur                  91
8) Varanasi                73

​​
The media has exposed that these killings clearly show the flouting mandatory legal bindings by the UP police. The testimony of eye witnesses and family members of those killed clearly shows that most of these killings are cold blooded murders by the police, where no gun battle ensued.  Many of those killed or injured, the police had after their deaths inserted clauses of criminality in their record. The fact remains that even the one with criminal records cannot, under any circumstances, be gunned down in this way if one were to adhere to a rule of law.  Instead, the, police in fact are getting encouragement and impunity from the highest echelons of power, in this case none other than the CM himself. In many press conferences lately, he has categorically justified the killings and stated that these will continue. He flaunts the encounter as his ‘zero tolerance towards crime

‘‘In the event of death, the next of kin of the alleged criminal must be informed at the earliest.’ In most of the cases, the family was not even given the post mortem report of the deceased.” Neha said.​​​​​​​

In many of the cases like that of Furquan from Shamli, Ikram from Baghpat had distinct injuries on their bodies like broken ribs, along with bullet wounds. The body of Jiahind Yadav  from Azamgarh had 21 bullet wounds on his body,  which he apparently sustained while he was riding a bike being chased by the police.

All these point at a certain aggression by the police and belie the theory of ‘firing in self defence’. The pattern becomes clearer as we deal with some the cases in details. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​SOME OF THE GLARING CASES

The case of Furquan from Shamli- Furquan was imprisoned for seven years as an under-trial implicated in a village brawl. In October 2017 however, it came unexpectedly. The police settled the case to get him out. After two weeks, when Furquan went to Baghpat to visit his relative, he stepped out of his house to go to a shop and never returned. They got news later that Furquan has been killed in an encounter; he was a dreaded criminal with 36 cases of dacoity and a bounty of Rs 50,000 on his head. It was claimed by the police that they were conducting a routine check, when they chanced upon him. He and his associates were riding a bike and they refused to stop and rather fired at the police party. In retaliatory fire, Furquan got shot and died, while others escaped. His body shows injury marks testifying torture, other than the bullet wounds.
The case of Sumit Gurjar from Baghpat: The case of Sumit Gurjar created the maximum uproar and even forced the NHRC to send notices to UP police. On September 30, Sumit Gurjar was abducted by policemen in civvies from a bus stand in Badhaut, Baghpat. There were sufficient eye witnesses who watched the entire scene of his being taken into custody. His family also came to know that he was being kidnapped. The family began to look for him. The Noida police offered to free Sumit in lieu of Rs, 350,000. His family heard the rumour that he might be killed in an encounter and they reached out to top police officials, NHRC and CM’s office, but got no satisfactory response. In the meanwhile,  the Noida police declared a bounty of Rs. 25000 on Sumit, that doubled later on. The next day it was declared that Sumit was killed in an ‘encounter’ while trying to escape in a car after robbing a cash van of a bank. Three other ‘unidentified assailant’ as usual ‘escaped’ as per the police version. The police claimed Sumit had several cases of robbery and extortion against him and justified the killing once again.
The  truth remained no longer under wraps, it soon surfaced that Sumit had no police cases against him ever. There was another man named Sumit Gurjar, who stayed in the same Chichretta village and had the exact same cases on him, back in 2011.

The cases of Chhannu Sonkar and Ramji Pasi from Azamgarh: The encounters have become a routine in western UP, even Eastern UP had this viral soon. The case of Chhannu Sonkar Ramji Pasi,  the testimony of their family members hints at chilling cases of fake encounter and staged killing. Chhannu Sonkar was picked up from a fruit orchard near his house by the police. When he did not return till late at night, his anxious family members called him on his mobile. He informed them that he was in Jahanaganj Police Station. Next day, two police personnel reached his house and informed his father Jhabbu Sonkar, that Channu was being treated in the district hospital. Later, they got the news of him being killed in an ‘encounter.’

Ramji Pasi had won the Panchayat election in Jiapur, Azamgarh and for that he came in contradiction with the dominant castes in his village. They first tried to implicate him, failing to frame false cases against him, he was picked up from his house by the police and killed in an encounter.

Jitendar Yadav’s case was finally denied to be an encounter. On 3rd February, the police fired at a vehicle in Noida that was returning from a marriage festival. The police jeep chased and fired at them, hitting a gym trainer Jiterndar Yadav critically in the neck, while his brother Sunil Yadav was hit in the leg. The police tried to pass off this as an ‘encounter’ running the same story of dreaded criminal trying to escape. However, later they had to retreat as the victims had no criminal record and the sub-inspector who shot at them was suspended and taken into custody. The constables, who accompanied him are however absconding and the details of the cases of why the shootout took place has been whitewashed. Speculations ran from altercation to caste conflict that led to the shootout. It however, unmistakably points out the uncontrolled trigger happy nature of UP police and the way they have been going about shooting people.
Similar cases of people with no crime record being picked up and shot at by the police have come to light in other places of both eastern and western UP. That the case of Jitendar Yadav could catch media attention and could force the police to backtrack was also because of his position. The people from the poorer section of  society have been continuously killed and injured by the police taking advantage of their socio-economic vulnerability. At least five cases of poor Muslims from Shamli and Muzzaffarnagar came to the media focus. They were Nadeem, 30 and Jaan Mohammed, 24 from Muzzaffarnagar, Shamshad and Mansoor, both 35 from Saharanpur and Waseem, 17 from Shamli. They were under- trials, who had already spent significant amount of time in jail for petty crimes. They were all registered in the police record because of their petty criminal past and their whereabouts were known to the police. Hence, it became quite easy for the police to hunt them down and kill them in fake encounters.

Biased media pampers government in power.

National media dances like a puppet to the tune of Modi government.  Many journalists working government stooges have been sold out for their survival in the industry.

The media both national and local outright black out the encounters under the Yogi regime, the local UP media went a step ahead in providing absolute support and even celebrated the ‘encounters’. They made absolutely no attempt in carrying out a follow-up and probing the chinks in the police machinery.

Sources : Delhi News Live

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