Countering the allegations, which targetted the Yogi Adityanath led Uttar Pradesh government for being a biased, encounter-hungry state, the state reeled out data in the Supreme Court on Friday to rubbish the charges. A public interest litigation was filed at the Supreme court by an NGO, People’s Union for Civil Liberty (PUCL), alleging that majority of people targeted in the encounters were from minority communities.
The state produced statistics before the court, which revealed that over four lakh criminals were caught, about 400 illegal weapon factories busted, and close to 30,000 weapons and bombs were seized from hardened criminals. Of the 48 criminals died in police encounters, only 18 were from the minority community, while 30 belonged to the majority.
State Joint Secretary (Home) Sunil Kumar Pandey submitted the statistics in an affidavit to a bench headed by CJI Ranjan Gogoi and sought the dismissal of the PIL for “cherry-picking” 14 instances of police encounters in which 13 dead hailed from the minority community.
Taking a dig at the PIL petitioners, the state said, “an attempt is being made to present dreadful criminals as victims by publishing versions of persons having sympathy with the deceased accused persons and preparing unverified news report based on such baseless and fabricated facts and posts on the internet”.
Praising the state police for its dauntless pursue, the state presented facts to show how the encounters proved costly even for the police force. They lost four of its brave men and 319 who suffered firearm injuries. On the other hand, 48 criminals were killed and 409 injured, which the state government termed unfortunate but unavoidable as it was a necessary action by police in self-defence.
To cripple the main allegation of petitioner NGO Peoples Union for Civil Liberty, the state asserted that of the 48 killed, 30 were Hindus.
Meanwhile, the Supreme court had also sought an explanation from the NGO. It asked, as to why a PIL seeking a court-monitored CBI or SIT probe was filed before it instead of the high court. A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said, “Why 32? (PILs are filed in apex court under Article 32 of the Constitution) Why you (NGO) have not approached the High Court. You are seeking a roving inquiry into it (encounter deaths)”.
Incidentally, the PIL served came as an indirect advantage for the state. It gave an opportunity to the UP government to highlight its achievements over the year. From the time the Yogi Adityanath government came to power in March 2017 till March 31, 2018, a total of 3,19,141 persons were arrested in the state and 98,526 surrendered. The police busted 402 illegal arms factories in the state, seized 530 guns, 26,244 pistols, 1136 revolvers, 388 rifles, two AK-47/56 rifles, two SLRs, ten carbines, 6,264 detonators, 2107 bombs and 52,713 cartridges.