Watch: Families of UP Encounter Victims Speak, Will Approach NHRC
The families of those killed in the encounters held a conference at the Press Club of India.
The families of victims of alleged extra-judicial executions in Uttar Pradesh are filing a petition before the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) asking for thorough and impartial investigation by the state police.
On Tuesday, 8 May, the kin of those killed in the encounters, along with prominent lawyers including Mr Prashant Bhushan and members of civil society, held a conference at the Press Club of India to talk about the cases and their petition before the NHRC.
All the victims studied come from vulnerable social groups, a press release issued by an NGO ‘Citizens Against Hate’ said.
The families, often clueless about their members being executed by the police are told different stories while upon analysis, the sequence of events in almost all the cases have been the same.
Most of the people killed in the encounters came from poor ‘lower caste’ backgrounds, landless farmers or were working as informal sector workers and hawkers, the report added.
The press event focused on the encounters by the UP Police since Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath came to power.
Media reports, validated by government claims, count 50 deaths in ‘encounter killings’ since March 2017, when Adityanath took office.
A report by the ‘Citizens Against Hate’ alliance seeks to document the circumstances of the killings and investigate the workings of the criminal justice system, specifically how guidelines by the Supreme Court and the NHRC on encounter killings are being followed (or not), as a means to ensure accountability.
The findings of the report point towards several loopholes in such 'encounter' killings, alleging that many of them were "pre-planned". It also indicates the use of “torture” against victims, "flouting" of the SC judgment and NHRC guidelines with regard to encounter cases, as well as attempts by police to silence family members, by means of threatening them and involving them in other cases.
Moreover, it is also alleged that the "FIRs spread over multiple episodes use exactly the same text, hinting at use of a common template by the state police to record the version of the incidents."
Wasim Khan, a cousin of one of the victims named Mansoor in Saharanpur, said that the victim was mentally unstable and hence, indulged in criminal activities in the past. However, Mansoor had given up on everything for the past two-and-a-half years. He was taken to Meerut with the help of his friends who came to his house and picked him up. The next morning, the family found out about the encounter. Upon inquiring into the matter, the family was told that Mansoor had a Rs 25,000 bounty on him.
Wasim, baffled at the incident, asks that if there was a criminal case against him and if he was wanted, how come no one came to question or pick him up for the last two-and-half years? Where do his old acquaintances come into play?
Mansoor’s mother has been so disturbed by the incident that she wasn’t even able to speak about the tragedy at the press conference.
They are calling it an encounter, but it is nothing except cold blooded murder.Wasim Khan, cousin of a victim
Mansoor’s case is one among the many where a vulnerable innocent target is picked up and killed at the hands of law enforcers.
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