Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath on Friday said that 166 people have been killed and 4,453 injured in police shootouts in the last five years.
The controversial Hindutva figure and BJP leader was addressing the Police Memorial Day Parade in Lucknow.
Critics and rights bodies have been alleging that the shootings are staged and that the killed mostly belonged to Dalit, Muslim, and OBC communities. Between 2017 and 2020, around 37% of those killed in police encounters in Uttar Pradesh were Muslims.
Adityanath claimed this was the result of his government’s “zero tolerance” against crime which has ensured that no criminal remains free in the state as they are either in prison or have been killed.
The chief minister said that 13 police personnel were also killed and over a thousand suffered injuries in the last five years. “I assure the families of the martyred policemen that the government has always been taking all necessary steps with full sensitivity for their welfare and fulfillment of all their needs and will continue to do so,” Adityanath said, according to PTI.
In a report, civil society organizations who had studied 17 cases of extrajudicial killings in Uttar Pradesh, which took place between March 2017 and March 2018 and led to 18 people’s deaths, found that in not one case has an FIR been registered against the police officers who were involved in the killing.
Instead, in all 17 cases, FIRs have been registered against the deceased victims on charges of attempted murder under section 307 IPC and other offenses, according to a report by three civil society organisations – Youth for Human Rights Documentation, Citizens Against Hate, and People’s Watch.
Out of 18 People- Mansoor, Shamim, Furqan, Waseem, Kasim, Jaan Mohammad, Noor Mohammad, Ehsan, Aslam, Ikram, Shamshad, Sumit Gujjar, Nadeem, Gurmeet, Noushad, Sarvar, Ramzani and Akbar- 16 were Muslims.
The report titled Extinguishing Law and Life: Police Killings and Cover Up in the state of Uttar Pradesh had described India’s most populous state as an “active theatre of encounter killings” with “gross procedural and substantive violations by investigating agencies and judicial magistrates” in investigating these extrajudicial killings.
The current Yogi Adityanath-led Hindu nationalist government in Uttar Pradesh has been blatant in its support for the police killings.
In an interview on a news channel, India TV, in June 2017, UP CM, Yogi Adityanath had stated that the State police would not hesitate to “knock down” criminals if they did not mend their ways. “Agar apradh karenge, toh thok diye jayenge”(If they commit crimes, we will knock them down), he said.
A few months later, in September 2017, Adityanath again stated that “Police in UP will now respond to a bullet with a bullet. Unlike the previous government, I have given full authority to the force to deal with criminals in the most appropriate way possible.”