Are extra-judicial killings or fake encounters becoming a trait of BJP-led governments? According to the data revealed by the home ministry to a question in the Rajya Sabha, it would appear so.
In a response to AAP Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Singh, the Rajnath Singh-led Ministry of Home Affairs states that in five years from 2014 to January 20, 2019, Chhattisgarh has seen 234 alleged extra-judicial killings, Assam 171 and Uttar Pradesh 81. In Chhattisgarh, the maximum number of people, 75, were allegedly killed between 2016-17 when BJP chief minister Raman Singh was in power. In Jharkhand, 56 were alleged killed during the same period.
In Uttar Pradesh, 44, were allegedly killed in 2017-18 alone, the year Yogi Adityanath took office. There have been, since 2014, eight alleged fake encounter cases by the Delhi police, which is under the BJP-led Central government. Maharashtra has seen 41 such killings under the BJP-led Devendra Fadnavis government.
In Uttar Pradesh, in 2017-18, only six cases were registered of the 44 intimations received and in 2018-19, 17 cases have been registered. In Uttar Pradesh, there has been a stark increase in the number of killings ever since Yogi Adityanath came to power. In 2018-19, until January 20, 2019, there have already been 21 such killings according to the data provided by the National Human Rights Commission.
A PIL on these indiscriminate killings had reached the Supreme Court and it had issued a notice to the Uttar Pradesh government. The petition was seeking a court-monitored inquiry into extra-judicial killings against alleged criminals in the state and was filed by Citizens Against Hate and People’s Union for Civil Liberties. The NHRC had issued a notice to the Adityanath government on this in November and even the United Nations had written to the Central government on 15 extra-judicial killings by the UP police. In the letter, they had mentioned they had taken note of another 59 possible fake encounters.
In Rajasthan, however, three cases were registered against the four complaints received and in Jharkhand only 19 cases have been registered.
In all, there have been 824 complaints against such police encounters, but only 250 cases were registered. Andhra Pradesh has seen 54 cases of extra-judicial killings registered in 2015-16, though only four were intimated.
According to the Home Ministry data, in two Congress-ruled states Assam and Meghalaya also saw a rise and then a fall in fake encounters. Under Congress chief minister Tarun Gogoi, there were 82 killings, but from 2016, when the BJP government took over, there have been 97 such killings. Under the Congress CM Mukul Sangma, there were 22 such killings in 2014, but it has hence reduced to 4 in 2017-2018.
States such as Kerala has seen one such killing since 2014, Himachal Pradesh has seen one fake encounter in 2018-2019 after BJP’s Jai Ram Thakur took over in 2017. Nagaland too has seen one such killing in 2018-19 after Neiphiu Rao took over; from 2014 to 2018, there were no encounters in the state. In the last five years, Rajasthan saw four fake encounters, that too in a single year 2017-2018.
Some of the states which have seen no such extra-judicial killings are Sikkim, Puducherry, Tripura, Goa and Chandigarh. What is interesting is that the NHRC data refuses to categorise any of the alleged killings in Jammu and Kashmir as extra-judicial, making the number here too naught.
In 102 of these cases, NHRC had recommended monetary compensation. It is anyone’s guess if this amount has reached the families. Probably another question hour in the Parliament may reveal these details.