गुरुवार, 25 मार्च 2010

Every second police encounter in India is fake

By Mumtaz Alam Falahi, TwoCircles.net,

New Delhi: While there is strong resistance by the government and its agencies including police and even courts to a judicial probe into the infamous Batla House encounter – ignoring persistent demand, sharpened following the autopsy report, of the Muslim community and human rights groups – the official data available with Two Circles.net says every second police encounter that takes place in the country is fake.

Since October 1993, 2560 cases of police encounters have been brought into the notice of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). Of them, according to the NHRC, 1224 cases have been found fake encounters. It means that roughly every second police encounter is fake in the country. The information has been accessed by eminent RTI activist Afroz Alam Sahil after several attempts. Sahil recently came into limelight for securing the autopsy report of Batla House encounter victims.

Another interesting point the data reveals is that of 1224 fake encounters, the NHRC ordered for compensation in only 16 cases.

Sahil, a Jamia Millia Islamia student filed an application with the NHRC using RTI Act on 24/09/2008, a week after the Batla House encounter. He sought information on three counts: number of police encounter cases reached NHRC so far, number of fake encounters among them and details of these fake encounters. But it took him almost one year and a lot of blood burning to get the information though incomplete.

He got incomplete reply on 20/10/2008. The one-paragraph answer to these questions said: “As per record available with the Commission, so far 2560 cases of police encounter/alleged fake encounter have come up before the NHRC. The Commission has so far granted compensation in sixteen cases of police encounter/alleged fake encounter.” The answer did not provide the number of all fake encounters.

Unsatisfied Sahil appealed for full information on 29/10/2008. He got reply on 27/11/2008. “In addition to earlier reply provided to the applicant, it is submitted that out of 16 cases in which certain acts of omission/commission resulting in violation of human rights on the part of public servants were found, 8 have been closed and the remaining 8 are still under consideration before the commission.” Once again the Commission skipped the question about the number of total fake encounters. Rather the repeated information about compensation in fake encounters seemed to indicate there were only 16 fake encounters. But this was not true. The actual number of fake encounters was in hundreds.

The petitioner filed a fresh application on 02/03/2009 and asked 7 questions including: Since October 1993, how many cases of fake encounters, communal riots/caste violence, death in police custody, exploitation of women and exploitation of Dalit have come before the commission. In how many of them public servants were found guilty. How many of them were disposed of or found wrong. And the case number of fake encounters in which NHRC has given compensation.

The reply he got from NHRC in October 2009 after taking numerous rounds of the Commission office was revealing. Since October 1993 there were 1224 fake encounters in the country. See the table.

Fake encounters- 1224

Communal riots/caste violence- 432

Death in police custody- 2320

Exploitation of women- 4502

Exploitation of Dalit- 17998

The NHRC said that out of the above, in 224 cases, the Commission found violation of human rights by public servants. The Commission had disposed of a total of 16784 such cases where no finding/positive recommendation in respect of proven violation of human rights was made.

However, this reply contrasted its own reply dated 27/11/2008 as for compensation in fake encounters.

While there were 1224 fake encounters the commission ordered compensation in only 7 cases. “In 7 cases of encounter, the Commission has awarded compensation,” says NHRC in the new reply while November 2008 reply said compensation was given in 16 cases.

List of seven victims whose family was given compensation.

File No.
Action Date

Smt Asha Arun Gawli

Shri Chhati Singh

Brij Mohan

Amitesh Sharma

Shri Yogesh

Papli S/O Mangal

Mohammed Shafi

Mohammed Shafi was of Andhra Pradesh. The complaint in his case was filed by Lateef Mohd Khan of Civil Liberties Monitoring Committee of Hyderabad. The encounter had taken place in Zaheerabad on 22/05/2003. The victim family has been given a compensation of Rs 3 lakh.

How Afroz Alam Sahil got all this information is a story in itself exposing the lethargic attitude of the Commission in giving out information, particularly this one related to fake encounters. Let’s see it in chronological order. (When he failed to get information in 2008 he filed fresh petition in 2009).

March 2, 2009: He filed fresh petition asking information on seven questions.

March 30, 2009: He was informed his petition sent to Law Division in NHRC

April 8, 2009: He got a letter asking him to deposit Rs 1480 as the information will be in 740 pages.

April 23, 2009: He deposited the amount with the Commission. He was given two-page information answering his seven Qs and asked to call after two days and get full report from office. He phoned but told report is not ready. He phoned several times and visited the office many times but in vain.

May 22, 2009: He was phoned to tell him deposit Rs 2216 more as the report will be in 1848 pages.

May 23, 2009: He was phoned to tell that the report will be in 1860 pages and he will need to deposit Rs 740 more.

May 23, 2009: He filed first appeal with NHRC detailing all this drama.

June 19, 2009: He got a letter that said he will get information in 1840 pages and his Rs 1480 will be returned.

July 8, 2009: He got a draft of Rs 1480 but no information.

(after that he called and visited the office but in vain, told report is being prepared)

August 13, 2009: He gave a written complaint to the NHRC.

August 31, 2009: He filed second appeal with CIC.

One month later he was called from NHRC that the report is ready and he can collect it from office. When he went he was given 1111-page report in place of 1848 or 1860 pages. The CIC has not yet conducted hearing on his second appeal.

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