48 Encounters: UP state defends Police action against criminals

New Delhi: After taking stringent actions killing 48 criminals in an encounter in Uttar Pradesh, the UP government has declared the deaths of criminals in Police action was an act of self-defense and not an encounter.

The Police were acting in self-defense when they were reportedly attacked with firearms or lethal weapons and had denied surrendering when warned against targeting minority community members.

The NGO People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) has filed a petition against the UP state Police in SC for killing the minority criminals in police action.

In response to the NGO’s petition, the state said that four police personnel have lost their lives while 48 criminals got killed, of which 30 belonged to the majority community and 18 to the minority community.

Sunil Kumar Pandey, Joint Secretary, Department of Home, Uttar Pradesh affidavit said that the petition has only referred to a section of criminals.

The affidavit field by the state said that “most shockingly, the petition as well as some of the news articles selectively chose and mentioned certain criminals alluding them to be belonging to a particular religion who died in police action and is completely one-sided”.

The affidavit added, “I say it would be clear from a bare perusal of the list of criminals who were fatally injured in police action that the implication that criminals belonging to the minority community have been targeted is ex facie malicious and incorrect and to suit a predefined narrative about certain communities… 14 cases have been arbitrarily cherry-picked out of which 13 allegedly belonged to the minority community. I say that of the 48 criminals who have died in the above police actions, 30 belong to the majority community and 18 belong to the minority community.”

The UP state affidavit said “police action is not taken based on the accused’s religion, sex, caste, creed and birth/residence and in fact action has been taken as per the provisions of law without any discrimination against criminals wanted and absconding and involved in criminal act/activities”.

Giving in details, the state said a total of 3,19,141 accused criminals were arrested while 98,526 surrendered before courts during the period and only 48 casualties in such a big numbers of criminals “by itself is validation of the fact that the intention of the police personnel is only to arrest the accused”.

“In many such police actions, accused persons resisting arrest opened fire at police personnel (and) as a result police in discharge of duties assigned under CrPC and in self defence had to take action in retaliation. In counter action, 409 accused were injured and immediate medical facility were provided for their treatment. In these actions, 319 police personnel received firearms injuries and 4 police personnel lost their lives on duty in these police actions,” the affidavit added.