NEW DELHI — After the sensational killing of convicted gangster Atiq Ahmed and his brother Ashraf by three assailants in Prayagraj in the presence of police personnel, a plea has been filed before the Supreme Court seeking an independent inquiry into all encounter killings in Uttar Pradesh since 2017, the year the Yogi Adityanath-led Bharatiya Janata Party government came to power in the state.
The Ahmed brothers were shot dead point blank while being escorted to a hospital by UP Police personnel for a procedural medical check-up.
Three assailants have been apprehended and identified following the incident that was captured live on television cameras. The killers have been identified as Lavelsh Tiwari (22), Mohit alias Sunny Singh (23) and Arun Maurya (18).
In the PIL filed before the top court, Advocate Vishal Tiwari questions the inaction by the UP Police personnel as the assailants, who posed as journalists, killed the two brothers in full public view.
The plea states that the absence of any protection or retaliation by the police during the incident raised doubts on the functioning of the police and alleged that the killings Saturday were a pre-planned attack.
“The police when becomes DARE DEVILS then the entire Rule of law collapses and generates the fear in the mind of people against the police which is very dangerous for the Democracy and this also results into further crime…In a democratic society, the police cannot be allowed to become a mode of delivering final justice or to become a punishing Authority. The power of punishment is only vested in the Judiciary,” Live Lww quoted the PIL as stating.
The plea also mentions the encounter killing of gangster Vikas Dubey and Atiq’s son Ashraf two days before the former’s murder. Referring to Dubey’s encounter killing in July 2020, the plea raises questions on the credibility of the findings of a three-member inquiry panel headed by former Supreme Court judge Justice(Retd) B S Chauhan.
The probe panel, it claims, found no evidence of wrongdoing on part of the UP Police in the incident.
Arguing that recent instances of police encounters and custodial deaths were unjustified, the plea further warns of an “alarming situation” if the police officials involved going unpunished.
The plea, therefore, seeks directions from the top court to “unearth the fake encounters by directing the Central Bureau of Investigation to investigate, collect and record the evidence in Kanpur Bikru Encounter case 2020 in which Vikas Dubey and his aides were killed by police in an encounter as the inquiry commission could not record the evidence in rebuttal of police version and has filed the inquiry report in absence of that”.
It also seeks directions to safeguard the Rule of law by constituting an Independent Expert Committee under the Chairmanship of former Supreme Court Justice to inquire into the 183 encounters which had occurred since 2017 as stated by Uttar Pradesh Special Director 21 General of Police (Law and Order) and also to inquire into the police custody murder of Atiq and Ashraf gangster turned politician”.
The UP Police on Friday said that 183 alleged criminals have been killed in encounters in the six years since the Yogi Adityanath government came to power in 2017. This figure included the killing of the son of Atiq’s son Asad.