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OPINION | Fake Encounters Undo All the Good Work of Legitimate Encounters

The police and the society need to understand that while nobody advocates fake encounters, genuine and legitimate encounters need to be carried out by professional and brave police officers of our force.

Vikram Singh |

Updated:September 21, 2017, 8:59 PM IST
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OPINION | Fake Encounters Undo All the Good Work of Legitimate Encounters
Picture for Representation. (Photo: Reuters)
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What efforts can police proactively make to control law and order?

There is a series of measures that police need to take to control law and order. One of those measures is to take on the gangsters, the mafia, and the crime syndicates head-on, through the excellent and workable intelligence at the department’s perusal. To adopt a hands-on approach and directly challenge the established underworld network.

The police and the society need to understand that while nobody advocates fake encounters, genuine and legitimate encounters need to be carried out by professional and brave police officers of our force.

How often have we heard about Colonel Sleeman (a British soldier in pre-Independent India) eradicating thugee (robbery by thugs) in central and north India, by way of selective, legitimate and legal encounters?

Again, in the British period, several encounters took place in Allahabad when bandits took over the city. Encounters were conducted in Punjab during peak Khalistan militancy and are still being carried out in Kashmir and areas affected by left wing extremism. To make the police and paramilitary forces battle worthy, the police will have to be battle-inoculated.

When extremists do not hesitate in blasting a hill station, when they kill policemen, army officers, families of security personnel without mercy, they don’t leave police with any other option but to undertake encounters.

It is in the call of duty that police challenges the desperados, and only when they’re fired upon do policemen return fire in self defence.

And in such exchange of fire the possibility of casualties on both the sides cannot be ruled out. The large number of police casualties is indicative of how a large number of encounters are genuine, and speaks volumes of the valor and courage of policemen.

Yes, there may be a miniscule number of fake encounters. It is for a mature police leadership to ensure that there is zero tolerance to fake encounters. Also in case of a fake encounter, there are detailed guidelines by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the Supreme Court, which mandate lodging of an FIR, a postmortem and sending report of the encounter to other branches like the Crime Branch.

But today, the crime situation has shown an improvement. The major credit would go to the pro-active methods adopted by the UP police. The state police’s gunning down of several desperados is a welcome measure. In such a situation legitimate encounters that take place within the ambit of law, are an excellent measure to contain crime and criminality.

UP police has a very proud tradition of being battle-inoculated is known for carrying out legitimate encounters. The legendary IPS officers who arrested famous Sultana Daku in an encounter did not kill him. Similar stories of Chavi ram, Khoki, Mahavira, are still remembered. Bigger criminals like Malkhan Singh were arrested instead of being killed. It is indicative of the fact that bona fide encounters are an excellent weapon in the arsenal of a law-abiding professional police force like the UP police.

The leadership has already galvanized the lower ranks into challenging the desperados, it is a good beginning but should ensure that no fake encounters happen because it will undo all the good of legitimate encounters.

(The author is a former DGP of Uttar Pradesh. Views expressed are personal)
| Edited by: Ashish Yechury
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