Skip to main content

Top human rights organizations object to Madhya Pradesh govt awarding cops involved in claimed SIMI encounter

By Our Representative
At least two human rights organizations, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) and Amnesty International India, have strongly reacted to the the Madhya Pradesh government outright justification of the fatal encounter of the eight banned Students Islamic Students of India (SIMI) boys, who reportedly fled from the Bhopal prison.
While CHRI has said that the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister’s decision to felicitate and provide cash awards to the police officers involved in the encounter, which led to the deaths of eight undertrials on the outskirts of Bhopal on October 31 is "deplorable" and "hasty", Amnesty has sought "independent, impartial, swift and thorough criminal investigation into the alleged extrajudicial execution".
According to CHRI, chief minister's hasty action violates "the clear diktat" of the 2014 Supreme Court on police encounters, which clearly states that “no out-of-turn promotion or instant gallantry rewards should be bestowed on the concerned officers soon after" such an "occurrence."
The Supreme Court, adds CHRI, also said that "one must ensure at all costs that such rewards are given/recommended only when the gallantry of the concerned officers is established beyond doubt”, adding, "The Court’s guidelines require the state to take immediate steps to establish, through a fiercely independent investigation, whether the police action was in accordance with the law."
According to CHRI, "All agencies of state are required to cooperate so that a just and fair assessment of facts can be made. The Chief Minister’s actions preempt any possible outcome of the mandated inquiry into the incident and violates due process norms."
Maja Daruwala, CHRI Board member, says, “I do not diminish the everyday dangers the police face nor the kind of people they are up against, but ultimately due process is paramount. That is what curbs and protects each of us against the untrammeled power of the state”.
"A huge question mark hangs over every hour of what took place during the incident, from the time of the escape to the gunning down of 8 people in those fields", says CHRI, adding, "The Supreme Court and the police’s own rules require that the extreme step of causing death must be examined by unbiased and independent investigation with absolute freedom from political
pressure."
Amnesty's statement blames the Madhya Pradesh authorities of giving "contradictory statements" on the death of the eight SIMI men.
"The Inspector General of the Bhopal police range initially said the men had been unarmed, and had been shot when they resisted capture. He later said that they had been armed with knives and pistols. However the state home minister told journalists that the men had used jail utensils as weapons. The Madhya Pradesh Anti-Terror Squad chief told a news channel on November 2 that the men had no weapons on them at the site of the killing", Amnesty says.
“The contradictory statements issued by authorities on the killings, and video clips which appear to show the prisoners trying to talk to the police before being shot, raise deeply disturbing questions. An independent investigation must determine if the police extra-judicially executed the prisoners,” Amensty's Tara Rao says.
Amnesty further says, "Local and national media channels have aired video clips which appear to have been recorded at the encounter site. One of the clips appears to show some of the prisoners waving their hands and attempting to talk to the police officers. Another clip appears to show the prisoners lying on the ground after they have been shot, and a police officer shooting at one man who seems to still be alive."
Admitting that Amnesty has "not been able to verify the authenticity of these video clips", the NGO says, "The prisoners had been charged with offences including murder, robbery and terrorism-related offences."
However, it quotes a lawyer who had been representing some of them, as saying, "why would they want to escape a high security prison when their court judgement was expected to come out in the next few weeks? There was no evidence against them and we were sure that the court would release them.”
“All the eight men were shot multiple times, and most of the wounds were above the waist, according to the post-mortem report,” said Rao, adding, “Too often, authorities in India have shown a lack of will in effectively investigating fake encounters and bringing those responsible to justice. This case must not end the same way.”
The Amnesty move comes following the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) asking senior Madhya Pradesh police and government officials to submit detailed reports on the incident within six weeks.
Guidelines issued by the NHRC in 2010 say that all alleged ‘fake encounters’ must be investigated by an independent agency. In September 2014, it may be recalled, the Supreme Court stated in the PUCL versus State of Maharashtra case that killings in police encounters "require independent investigations."
Bringing all this to light, Amnesty says, "The UN Principles on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions require that there shall be "thorough, prompt and impartial investigation of all suspected cases of extra-legal, arbitrary and summary executions, including cases where… reliable reports suggest unnatural death in the above circumstances.”

Comments

TRENDING

Missed call drive for VVPAT verification follows online plea to "pressure" poll panel

By Our Representative
Several political activists have begun a new campaign, asking concerned citizens to give a missed call on 9667655855 to “support the demand that 2019 Loksabha elections must be declared only after verification of 50% electronic voting machines (EVMs) with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) receipts.” The effort, supported by civil society networks across India, is meant to "further pressure" India's election machinery to ensure that the poll outcome becomes more transparent.

Did Modi own, buy digital camera costing Rs 7 lakh in 1987-88, also used email?

Counterview Desk
In an interview to the news channel News Nation, aired on Saturday last, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declaring that he had approved the air strike despite bad weather because he felt the clouds would hide Indian planes from Pakistani radar is known to have become a laughing stock across India.

Now, top Gujarat "litterateur" close to Modi says: Godse was patriot, so was Gandhi

By Rajiv Shah
A little over a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi criticized BJP candidate from Bhopal Pragya Thakur for calling Nathuram Godse a patriot saying he would never forgive her for the remark, a top Sangh Parivar ideologue, known to close to Modi in Gujarat, has supported her, saying her statement should be seen “within a context.” Thakur won from Bhopal by more than 3.5 lakh votes defeating her nearest rival, veteran Congressman and ex-Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh.

When a neo-nationalist "invaded" hijab clad ladies, Bengali looking scholar in Delhi metro

By Aditi Kundu*
Travelling in Delhi metro on a daily basis to commute from Mayur Vihar to Dwarka, I see diverse people everyday. One can hear them talk about different aspects of life, from kitchen pilitics to national politics. On the morning of May 13, I witnessed a strange incident; disturbing and amusing at the same time.

Terror attacks: Difference in public reactions in India, those in Colombo, Christchurch

By Battini Rao*
Recently, on April 20 during Easter Sunday, more than 250 people were killed in a series of coordinated terrorist attacks in churches and hotels in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Local Islamic organisations Thawheed Jamath (NJT) and Jamathei Milathu Ibrahim (JMI) are held responsible for the attack. Islamic State has also claimed responsibility.

Women lost 88 lakh jobs in 2018: Why Modi "failed" to address their disempowerment?

Counterview Desk
Five human rights leaders Anjali Bhardwaj, Shabnam Hashmi, Purnima Gupta, Dipta Bhog, and Amrita Johri of the Women March for Change have posed 56 questions (alluding to Modi’s claim of 56 inches chest) to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP against the backdrop of his interview with a Bollywood star, which was allegedly masqueraded as a “non-political” conversation.

Disproportionately high death sentences against Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims: UN told

Counterview Desk
In their joint submission to the United Nations Human Rights Committee to meet for the listing of adoption of list of issues at its 126th session, July 1-26, 2019, top Dalit rights organizations have taken strong exception to, among other things, "disproportional application of death sentencing by the judiciary of minorities, such as Muslims, Dalits and Adivasis".

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

India's 80% construction sites "unsafe", deaths 20 times higher than those in Britain

By Rajiv Shah
The Government of India may be seeking to project India’s construction sector as the country’s second-largest employer of the country after agriculture, providing jobs to more than 44 million people, and contributing nearly 9% to the national GDP, yet, ironically, its workforce is more unprotected than any other industrial sector of the country. Data suggest that the possibility of a fatality is five times more likely in the construction industry  than in a manufacturing industry, and the risk of a major injury is 2.5 times higher.

India sans Modi preferable, Congress worthier recipient of Indians’ votes: The Economist

By Our Representative
In a strongly-worded and crucial commentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the electoral political battle is on, influential British weekly “The Economist”, has declared that “Indians, who are in the midst of voting in a fresh election, would be better off with a different leader”, even as pointing out that that under Modi, “India’s ruling party poses a threat to democracy.”