By: M.S.Yatnatti: Editor and Video Journalist Bengaluru: Violating law in the name of better law enforcement is a mistaken strategy and it is not Ram Rajya, it is fraught with perilous consequences. Sankar Sen former Director General, National Human Rights Commission as he has witnessed, in his long years of service in the police and an innings in NHRC, that police vested with unbridled authority to use force become trigger happy and run berserk. In the name of combating crime and criminals, they have settled old scores. Many innocent people suffer loss of life and limb.Reportedly Uttar Pradesh deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya has sought to downplay criticism on the growing number of encounter killings in Uttar Pradesh, saying eliminating criminals is a step towards setting up a "Ram Rajya”."UP is not the only state where steps are being taken at a grand scale to ensure law and order. Our priority is not to kill them (criminals). But if armed men attack cops, they will be fired back. The aim is to eliminate evil and ensure a peaceful atmosphere, that is 'Ram Rajya',” Reportedly Maurya told reporters. Since the BJP government came to office in March last year, 1,240 encounters have taken place in which 40 criminals have been killed and 305 injured. Nearly 5,500 criminals got their bail cancelled fearing "action" by UP Police during the first 10 months of chief minister Yogi Adityanath's regime, reportedly said director general of Uttar Pradesh police Om Prakash Singh .The DGP, who was in Agra to chair a crime review meeting with officials, said the Special Task Force (STF) made dedicated efforts to make state police's crackdown on criminals successful. "During 10 months from March 2017 to January 2018, UP Police has conducted 1,331 encounters. In these encounters, 3,091wanted criminals have been arrested and 43 gunned down. Out of these, 50% had rewards declared on them. Many of these people had been absconding for a long time. Fearing action against them, a total of 5,409 criminals during these 10 months got their bail cancelled by surrendering in courts,” reportedly the DGP said.
According to report police Backed by chief minister Yogi Adityanath, the Uttar Pradesh has launched a vigorous crackdown on criminals. Some criminals have been killed in encounters and many, out of fear of being gunned down, have surrendered. According to data sourced from police headquarters as many as 1,142 encounters were recorded between March 2017 and January this year, and 38 alleged criminals were killed.Encounter specialists in the police are calling the shots. Encounters took place in Lucknow, Saharanpur, Gorakhpur, Bagpat and other areas of the state. Though the CM has given a green signal and assured support to the police, these developments are worrying and should not make one oblivious of the hard fact that police encounters have many adverse consequences.It is true that there is tacit public approval of police encounters. Criminal justice moves at a snail's pace. Trials drag on interminably. Notorious criminals get away scot-free and cock a snook at the justice system. Encounters are not so much the problem as symptoms of the collapsing system of justice and public demand for quick solutions to law and order problems.but for proper and efficient functioning of police, illegal encounters have to be firmly discouraged by police leaders and professionals. They generate lawlessness within the police and breed contempt for law. To break law in the name of law enforcement has no place in a democratic society governed by the rule of law. It is objectionable because it is arbitrary as a process, and random in its effects. The real answer is to strengthen law and the legal process. Reportedly the procedure outlined by NHRC lays down that in the case of an encounter in which the police are involved, immediate steps should be taken to investigate the facts and circumstances leading to death, and ascertain how the offence was committed and by whom. If police officers belonging to the same police station are members of the encounter party, it will be appropriate that other police agencies, preferably the state CID, should take over investigation of such cases. Unfortunately, these salutary instructions of NHRC remain on paper. Some retired senior UP police officers have warned the police force of the risks and dangers inherent in the abuse of power. Some trigger-happy officers are likely to come to grief in due course for their over-zealousness. At that time, the political masters will not come to their rescue. They will rue like Cardinal Wolsey for their unthinking loyalty to the king and not to the canons of law!