In June this year, in an interview on India TV, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Adityanath said in response to criticism that the BJP government had failed to check crime in the state since coming to power, “Agar apradh karenge toh thok diye jayenge (if they commit crimes, they will be knocked down).” Three months later, data shows that this was not an empty threat.
The UP police have conducted 420 encounters with alleged criminals – and killed 15 – in the less than six months the Adityanath government has been in power, according to official data released on Friday.
In the encounters between March 20 and September 14, 88 police personnel have suffered injuries. Ten of the alleged criminals were killed in the 48 days before September 14.
The statistics released by the director general of police headquarters showed that Jai Prakash Singh, a sub-inspector, died in an encounters with a gang of dacoits in Chitrakoot.
Inspector general (law and order) Hari Ram Sharma said that the encounters were part of the police’s efforts to “control crime,” the report said. He also said that the police had arrested 1,106 people as part of the encounters, in which 84 of the accused were injured. Sharma justified police firing saying that criminals do not surrender without resistance so the police fire in retaliation. According to Sharma, the National Security Act is being used to charge 54 accused, while the properties of 69 others have been attached under the UP Gangster and Anti-Social Activities (Prevention) Act.
“Police is accountable to the executive, judiciary, media and people. Every encounter is probed through a magisterial inquiry. The National Human Rights Commission has been informed about the deaths,” he told.
Questions are being raised over a series of tweets by Rahul Srivastav, who is the public relations officer at the director general of police headquarters. On September 1, Sunil Sharma, allegedly a wanted criminal, succumbed to his injuries from an encounter in the outskirts of Lucknow. The same day, Srivastava tweeted saying: “#uppolice enounter express halts in the capital… miles to go…” along with a news clipping of the encounter.