Uttar Pradesh extrajudicial executions; NHRC issued an order for investigation
The families of victims of extrajudicial executions in Uttar Pradesh, represented by Adv. Prashant Bhushan and representatives from the fact finding team of ‘Citizens Against Hate’, met the NHRC Chairperson, H.L. Dattu on 7th May 2018. The families presented a complaint of 9 cases of extra judicial killings in the State of Uttar Pradesh supported by affidavits by the victims families that completely demolish the police version of alleged “encounters”. Also presented was a fact finding report by civil society organisations, 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 shoot outs rather instances of planned and pre-meditated extra judicial killings. The encounter narrative of the police show a repetition of 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 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.
The NHRC after scrutinising both the complaints and the supporting documents which included FIR, postmortem reports, GD entries, etc issued an order and notice on 9thMay, 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.
We applaud the Commission for considering the urgency of the matter and 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. The Commission has further 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 log book records, log book 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.
The operative part of the Order is reproduced below:
“Considering the gravity of the matter, the Commission requests its DG (I) to constitute an investigating team of five members, consisting of one SSP, two Dy. SPs and two Inspectors to make the fact finding enquiry of all the 17 cases where alleged encounter killings had taken place by recording the statements of affected families and other necessary examination relating to the alleged incident of encounter deaths and to submit report within four weeks. The team to be constituted forthwith. Out of these 17 cases, 15 are already registered with the Commission in which reports have been called for. Rest two cases are hereby registered by issuing notices to the Chief Secretary and the DGP of the State of Uttar Pradesh with a direction to submit detailed reports within six weeks. The Commission also directs DGP of the State of Uttar Pradesh to give necessary directions to the concerned investigating officers in all the 17 cases of alleged encounter killings to submit the status of investigation and produce documents pertaining to cases mentioned above before the Commission and those documents must particularly include (i) FIRs registered in the cases; (ii) relevant chargesheets; (iii) General / Daily Dairy register entry of the relevant Police Station, of the day of incident; (iv) Wireless log book record of the relevant PS (or district police wireless HQ, where such log is maintained) of the day of incident; (v) log book records of the day, of govt. vehicles used by all police officers engaged in the said encounters; (vi) all Details Records (CDR) of mobile phones used by the deceased, any by all police officers engaged in the encounter (date range; one week prior to date of encounter to one week following) within six weeks. Put up after eight weeks.”
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