UP’s encounter culture dangerous

The spreading encounter culture in Uttar Pradesh, with extra-judicial killings increasing in every part of the state, has caused concern and alarm not only within the state and the country but even outside the country. Officials of the UN Human Rights Commission have said that they are extremely concerned about the pattern of events in the state, with individuals being abducted or arrested before being killed and their bodies bearing marks of torture. They have said that they have not received a reply for letters written to the Indian government about specific cases of encounters. The National Human Rights Commission has issued a notice to the state over the killings. The Supreme Court has observed that the fake encounters in the state are a “very serious issue’’. A petition has been filed in the court seeking a CBI investigation into at least 1,100 encounters which have taken place under the Yogi Adityanath government, in which 49 people have been killed.

Encounters have become routine events in UP, with the government actively encouraging and supporting them and protecting the policemen who have arbitrarily killed and injured people. Soon after Adityanath came to power, he got a draconian legislation against organised crime passed, which allowed lawless killings, violation of human rights and deviations from the due process. He has given the police the clearance to kill, and issued directions to that effect. The state officials have justified such killings as necessary. Accounts of most of these killings and the FIRs, if they are registered, read much the same. Usually, there are no witnesses and the victims are predominantly from the minority community. Policemen involved in killings are awarded promotions. 

Adityanath has said that the gun will be answered with a gun. This is against the rule of law and norms in a democracy, which he apparently does not recognise and accept. The idea of a gun for a gun, when unchallenged, eventually changes to the use of the gun against a person who has no gun also. The basic premise of the rule of law -- that every citizen, even a criminal, is entitled to human rights and due process -- is being daily blatantly violated in UP. The state government’s attitude to right to life may be seen from the fact that the chief minister ordered filing of cases under the draconian National Security Act (NSA) against people charged with killing cows but he has not bothered much about the killing of a police inspector by a mob. Neither the central government nor Adityanath’s party will stop him on his lawless tracks because they, too, do not differ much from him on his view of life and law. 

Comments (+)