As news emerged that gangster Vikas Dubey had been shot dead while trying to escape after a road accident while being taken by the Uttar Pradesh police to Kanpur Friday morning, many opposition leaders raised questions on the encounter, the latest of several over the past few days.
The car in which Vikas Dubey was being taken overturned on the highway and he tried to escape after snatching a gun, according to the police.
Over the last week, five of Dubey's aides had been killed.
As visuals of his bloodstained body in a hospital emerged, opposition leaders, lawyers and activists alleged that police had killed Dubey to prevent him revealing his links with powerful people.
"Actually, the car didn't topple. The UP government has been saved from toppling by secrets that would have been revealed," tweeted Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav in Hindi.
दरअसल ये कार नहीं पलटी है, राज़ खुलने से सरकार पलटने से बचाई गयी है.— Akhilesh Yadav (@yadavakhilesh) July 10, 2020
The former Chief Minister had also demanded to know yesterday whether Vikas Dubey's arrest was, in fact, surrender.
"There is news that the main accused in the Kanpur case is in police custody. If this is true, the government should clarify whether it was a surrender or an arrest. Call records should be made public so that those who colluded with him are exposed," Mr Yadav had tweeted on Thursday.
Congress MP Rahul Gandhi tweeted an Urdu couplet that, loosely translated, says: "His silence was better than many answers...who knows how many secrets were protected."
कई जवाबों से अच्छी है ख़ामोशी उसकी— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) July 10, 2020
न जाने कितने सवालों की आबरू रख ली
His sister and Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra tweeted: "The criminal is dead. But what about crime and those who give protection to it?"
Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah also posted on the encounter.
Dead men tell no tales #VikasDubey— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) July 10, 2020
"This is the most blatant case of extra-judicial killing. Dubey was a gangster terrorist who may have deserved to die. But (Uttar Pradesh) police have killed him to shut his mouth," Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan wrote on Twitter.
Dubey, accused of setting up a cold-blooded ambush that left eight policemen dead at his village last Friday, was arrested yesterday at the famous Mahakal temple in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh. He was spotted by temple security guards when he bought prasad and entered the temple. When he was confronted by the guards, he lashed out and was taken to the police.
He was arrested hours after two of his accomplices were shot dead by Uttar Pradesh police in separate encounters. Three others, including Dubey's closest aide Amar Dubey, were also shot dead.
"Vikas Dubey notorious criminal and gangster of Kanpur UP has been killed in an encounter today morning as per UP Police. He has met his fate .UP Police deserves credit of not allowing him to escape, it could have been dangerous. Politicians-criminal-Police nexus be uncovered," tweeted former Jammu and Kashmir police chief SP Vaid.