Monday, April 23, 2012

Modi seeks probe into all encounters

Modi seeks probe into all encounters
New Delhi, April 13 2012, DHNS:

The Gujarat government on Friday filed a petition in the Supreme Court, seeking an independent probe into all encounter deaths across the country in the last decade.
The petitioner also urged the SC to frame guidelines and set up a monitoring system to ensure an uniformity in the inquiries initiated into the allegedly fake encounters, apart from contending that the Gujarat police were unduly targeted by people with vested interest. “An appropriate direction from this court is sought to deal with all cases of fake encounters in the country in an uniform manner which would ensure that while human rights are protected, police force of terrorism-prone Gujarat is not left demoralised on the ground that some vested interest groups are selectively targetting the police force of only one state,” the petition said.

Consequently, a bench of justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana Prakash Desai issued a notice to the Centre and the respective state governments.

After hearing petitions on fake encounter killings in Gujarat between 2002 and 2006, the bench had allowed the Gujarat government to file a separate petition.   

The SC had ordered a probe into the encounter killings after veteran journalist B G Verghese and lyricist Javed Akhtar filed two petitions alleging that the encounters followed a particular pattern in which only members of a particular community perished.

Former apex court judge H S Bedi was nominated the chairman of a monitoring committee formed by the Gujarat government to look into the 22 cases of alleged fake encounters.

The petition of the Gujarat government further said the SC needed to “undertake an exercise to examine the factual scenario in the entire country so as to avoid any different treatment to one particular state in which the number of encounter deaths were minimum.” It also urged the SC to direct the state governments and union territories to “evolve and formulate a uniform nation-wide policy providing for an independent agency like monitoring authority / special task force created by the Gujarat government to probe into all cases of alleged fake encounters.”

Such measures, the petition claimed, would curb extra judicial killings under the garb of fake encounters, apart from raising the moral of police who could crack down on organised crimes without any inhibitions of being unduly targeted.
Besides, terrorism has claimed 72,000 civilians and 12,000 security personnel, the petition said. 

“Out of approximately 670 districts in the country, as many as 270 districts are terror prone. Out of these 270 districts, 70 districts have already been ravaged by the terrorists.  An honest officer would find it very difficult to function and discharge his duty if he would remain under a constant threat of being exposed to prosecution himself merely based upon some irresponsible allegation that his discharge of duty was in fact a fake encounter,” the petition said.