- National Human Rights Commission sends notice to Uttar Pradesh government
- NHRC notice over alleged fake encounter in Noida
- UP police say it's personal enmity, not 'fake encounter'
A group of men, on their way home from a family function, were stopped and shot at by policemen in Noida. After a preliminary inquiry, the UP police suspended four of its personnel and arrested a sub-inspector.
The police denied the family's accusations of a fake encounter, saying it was a case of personal enmity.
In its notice, the NHRC made strong observations against the UP police. "The Commission has observed that it seems that the police personnel in the State of Uttar Pradesh are feeling free, misusing their power in the light of an undeclared endorsement given by the higher ups. They are using their privileges to settle scores with the people," the NHRC said in a statement on its website.
This is the second time in 10 months of the Yogi Adityanath government that the NHRC has sent a notice to the UP government over encounters. Since the BJP government came to power in Uttar Pradesh in March last year, there have been 1,142 encounters in 10 months, or four encounters a day. More than 200 people have been arrested and over 30 have been killed.
Meerut zone in western Uttar Pradesh has accounted for half of these encounters. This includes districts like Muzaffarnagar, Bulandshahr, Shamli and Saharanpur.
The family of the people who were shot on Saturday night had hinted that the attack was caste related. Vajeshni Yadav, a relative of Jitendra Yadav, who is fighting for his life in hospital, said the police have taken to targeting young men in the area, staging fake encounters to get promotions. "These are all farmers, not criminals. The police must be taught lessons in law," he said.
Describing the attack, Vajeshni Yadav told reporters that they were on way home from an engagement ceremony in Berhampur, in nearby Ghaziabad. Jitendra Yadav, who owns a gym and a shoe store, was dropping them home.
"My elder brother, uncle and two friends were in the car," said Vajeshni Yadav. Around 10.30 pm, when they had reached Noida's Sector 122, four policemen came in a jeep and stopped them. They then "started hitting and abusing Jitender Yadav," he said.
"When Jitendra asked what was their fault, the police said, 'You are a Yadav right'? Jitendra asked 'Is it a crime to be a Yadav'? The cop said, 'let me teach you...'."
Luv Kumar, a senior police officer, said Jitendra Yadav was shot in the neck. He is admitted in Noida's Fortis Hospital and is said to be critical. Another man, Sunil, has been hurt on his leg.
Defending frequent encounters in the state, top police officers, including the newly appointed Director General of Police OP Singh, said the police fires only in self-defence. "Encounters keep happening because we have to catch criminals. Encounters happen because we fire in self-defence," Mr Singh said at a press conference recently. The state government has said a proper magisterial enquiry is conducted after every encounter.
Last month, an eight-year-old boy was killed after he was caught in a crossfire between police and alleged criminals near Mathura, 450 km from the state capital Lucknow.