Lucknow: As per official data, ever since the Yogi Adityanath-led government came to power 10 months ago, there have been more than 1100 police encounters in the state.
These shootouts have caused the death of 34 criminals, left 265 injured and led to the arrest of 2744 history-sheeters. On the other hand, four police personnel have been killed and 247 injured in these 10 months.
The UP chief minister had said that police will have full freedom to deal with rising crime rates in the state and asked criminals to either surrender or leave the state. The police promptly launched ‘Operation Clean’ and took no time in beginning to deal with the wanted men.
According to information released by Uttar Pradesh Police, there were 1142 police encounter in Uttar Pradesh between March 20, 2017, and January 31, 2018.
The highest numbers of encounters were reported from Meerut zone where 449 encounters took place, which was followed by Agra zone which had 210. Third on the list was Bareilly zone with 196 encounters and then came Kanpur zone with 91 shootouts. The least number of police encounters were in the CM’s constituency of Gorakhpur.
Apart from this, the police have imposed National Security Act (NSA) against 167 criminals and seized assets worth nearly 150 crores.
There have been voices raised against the encounters, especially when a police officer shot a gym owner in Noida to get a promotion. The death of Sumit Gurjar, who was also shot dead by the police in Noida, has raised eyebrows. The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) even sent a notice to the UP Government over the encounter of Sumit Gurjar seeking answers.
If the burgeoning number of encounters are not kept a strict vigil, it could lead to a repeat of the 1991 Pilibhit fake encounter case. In 2016, a special CBI court found 47 police officers guilty of killing 12 people who were travelling back from a pilgrimage. The police, reacting to a speculative story about militants travelling the route, stopped their bus and took the group to different spots. All 12 were later found dead.
Meanwhile, opposition parties have been critical of the police’s alleged free reign. Talking to News18, Samajwadi Party spokesperson, Rajendra Chaudhary said, “The recent encounter in Noida was fake and we seek strict action against the culprits. CM Yogi had warned the criminals but instead, crime has risen in the state. This is just government propaganda to hide their failure to crime control. This is a smokescreen created by the BJP but on the contrary, the crime graph is rising. Law and order situation has gone out of the hand in the state.”