New Delhi: Soon after taking charge, in June 2017, the Uttar Pradesh chief minister Adityanath had reportedly said: “Agar apradh karenge toh thok diye jayenge (If they commit crimes, they will be hit).” Going by official data, the leader seems to have remained true to his words.
Between March 2017 and July 2018 – the first 16 months of Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh – the state police recorded over 3,000 encounters, gunning down at least 78 criminals, Indian Express reported.
Around the same time this year, government data showed the figure of encounters at 1,038. In these, 32 people were killed and 238 injured. Four police personnel also lost their lives.
While the Supreme Court has raised an alarm about the encounter killings and issued a notice to the state on a plea seeking a probe into the matter, the UP government has reportedly put the killings of criminals – along with total encounters and arrests – on a list of its achievements be publicised on Republic Day.
Going by government data, nearly 2,000 of these encounters were conducted between January-July 2018, and an average of six per day since March 2017.
In terms of encounter killings as well, there was a sharp spike during 2018 – 61 criminals were killed, which is an average of 8.71 per month as opposed to 1.8 per month during the earlier period.
The Wire had in 2017 met families of 14 people who were gunned down in these encounters and a detailed investigation had revealed discrepancies in the accounts of the families of those killed and the police. Eleven of the cases had the same pattern – the victims were in the age group of 17 to 40 and they were all undertrials in a number of cases.
According to Indian Express, Uttar Pradesh chief secretary Anup Chandra Pandey has communicated the same to all district magistrates, adding that the state has been running a campaign to arrest wanted criminals for an effective control on crime.
There were 3,026 encounters till July 2018, the letter says. In these, 69 criminals were killed, 7,043 arrested and 838 sustained injuries. The letter adds that in the same 16-month period, 11,981 criminals had their bail canceled and surrendered in courts.
A similar communication was sent last year as well, according to the English daily. As per that circular, 17 criminals had been killed and 109 were arrested during actions that the police termed “self-defence”. The figures were for period starting from the date the government was formed till December 15, 2017.