MUZAFFARNAGAR: The Uttar Pradesh Police have carried out at least 18 encounters in the last 48 hours, arresting 25 people on its wanted-list and killing one criminal with a 25,000 rupee reward on his head in Muzaffarnagar.
In a major breakthrough, the special task force (STF) gunned down Indrapal – a native of Ghaziabad – in western UP’s Muzaffarnagar. He had 33 criminal cases pending against him.
According to the police, Indrapal was involved in a shootout in Uttarakhand’s Haridwar in 2013 in which a policeman was killed. He opened fire at the STF team in which a sub-inspector was also injured, police said.
The latest shootout happened at 2 am on Saturday in Kannauj district, where two policemen sustained injuries. However, the suspected criminals managed to escape, police said.
In another encounter on Friday in Gorakhpur, police arrested two wanted criminals who had a cash reward of Rs. 50,000 each on their heads. They have confessed to their role the murder of a businessman Dinesh Gupta last Sunday, police said.
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,” said Singh at a recent press conference.
Since the Yogi Adityanath-led BJP government came to power in Uttar Pradesh in March last year there have been about 950 encounters in less than a year. More than 200 people have been arrested, over 30 have been killed.
This policy of the Uttar Pradesh police has attracted a notice by the National Human Rights Commission last November, who asked for a detailed report on killings in encounters.
“The NHRC has taken suo motu cognisance of media reports about the government of Uttar Pradesh allegedly endorsing killings in encounters by police, seeking improvement in the law and order situation in the state,” the NHRC said in a statement.
The state government, however, said a proper magisterial enquiry is conducted after every encounter.
In January 2018, an eight-year boy was killed after he was caught in a crossfire between the police and alleged criminals near Mathura, about 450 km from the state capital Lucknow.
The police team reportedly tried to negotiate with the alleged criminals but they started firing, which led to the encounter.