Rampant Fake Encounters in India
Ever since the Yogi Adityanath-led government came to power a year ago, there have been more than 1100 police encounters in the state. These shootouts have caused the death of 34 criminals, left 265 injured and led to the arrest of 2744 history-sheeters. On the other hand, four police personnel have been killed and 247 injured in this course of time.
The UP chief minister had said that police will have full freedom to deal with rising crime rates in the state and asked criminals to either surrender or leave the state. The police promptly launched ‘Operation Clean’ and took no time in beginning to deal with the wanted men.
NHRC Data Reveals Much More
NHRC data released earlier this year in response to an RTI exposes that, close to 1,782 cases of fake encounters were registered in India between 2000 and 2017. Coincidentally, Uttar Pradesh accounted for 44.55 percent (794 cases) of such cases registered across all states.
Following Uttar Pradesh, the next five states which account for the highest number of fake encounter cases are Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Assam, Jharkhand and Manipur. However, each of them registered less than six percent of all the cases registered since 2000 - Andhra Pradesh (94 cases; 5.27 percent), Bihar (74 cases; 4.5 percent), Jharkhand (69 cases; 3.87 percent), Assam (69 cases; 3.87 percent) and Manipur (63 cases; 3.53 percent). The National Capital reported 40 cases while Jammu and Kashmir reflects 22 cases during the same period. The RTI reply did not reflect any data for Goa, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Lakshadweep.
The most number of cases registered since 2000 was in the year 2012 with 226 fake encounter incidents reported, of which only 195 were disposed with 31 cases pending. In the last seven years alone, NHRC recorded 725 cases between 2010 and 2017. Fake encounter cases in this decade alone account for 40.68 percent of the total number since the dawn of the 21st century in India.
In 2016, the Union home ministry identified 106 districts in 10 states affected by left-wing extremism (LWE) which included Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh. An analysis of the fake encounters cases in these states shows that after Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh showed the next highest number of registered cases (94). While Uttar Pradesh has 51 of 794 cases pending, Andhra Pradesh has 54 pending cases from the 94 registered in the state.
Encounters are - at least in part - a response to India's grindingly slow and dysfunctional criminal justice system. The police often see cases evaporate as trials are delayed and witnesses turn hostile. Defendants are also known to buy their freedom. But the response - taking the law into their own hands - reflects something even more sinister: a culture in which some police officers assume that they can kill with impunity, safe in the knowledge that they are very unlikely to face any consequences. If the face encounters are increasing substantially, it’s time to put a halt and make the law and order strong. And no state government or police should be allowed to carry such encounters out as it affects the social security and harmony of the general public.
By:Thamanna Abdul Latheef C