A plea, filed by advocate Vishal Tiwari in the Supreme Court, on Sunday sought an inquiry into the 183 encounters that have taken place in Uttar Pradesh since 2017. The plea also sought a constitution of an independent expert committee headed by a former apex court judge to probe killings of gangster-politician Atiq Ahmad and his brother Ashraf.
Ahmad (60) and Ashraf, who were in handcuffs, were shot dead by three men posing as journalists when they were answering reporters’ queries while being escorted by police personnel to a medical college in Uttar Pradesh’s Prayagraj for a checkup on Saturday night.
Just hours before the shooting, the last rites of Ahmad’s son Asad, who along with one of his associates was gunned down in a police encounter in Jhansi on April 13, were held.
Uttar Pradesh Police had said on Friday that it has gunned down 183 alleged criminals in encounters in the six years of the Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath-led government and this included Asad and his accomplice.
The plea sought the creation of an independent expert committee to probe the killings of Atiq and Ashraf.
“Issue guidelines/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 General of Police (Law and Order) and also to inquire into the police custody murder of Atiq and Ashraf,” it said.
Referring to Atiq’s killing, the plea said “such actions by police are a severe threat to democracy and rule of law and lead to police state”.
“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,” the plea stated.
The plea said extra-judicial killings or fake police encounters have no place under the law.
When the police turn “Dare Devils then the entire rule of law collapses and generates fear in the mind of people against police which is very dangerous for democracy and this also results into further crime,” it stated.