Uttar Pradesh Police: Stop the Extrajudicial Killings

Amnesty International India
Bangalore/New Delhi: 10 July 2020 4:31 pm

The Uttar Pradesh government must ensure an independent, impartial, effective and thorough criminal investigation into the alleged extrajudicial execution of Vikas Dubey on 10 July and his five associates, said Amnesty International India today.

“Extrajudicial executions have no place in a modern and rights-respecting society. They cannot be allowed under any circumstances, including a ‘war on crime’ or other public emergencies. Yet, in Uttar Pradesh, using extrajudicial executions to circumvent the rule of law and due process has unfortunately become a norm. The Uttar Pradesh Police patted itself on the back last year by claiming that it had killed 103 criminals and injured 1859 others in 5178 ‘police engagements’ over a period of two years. Acting outside the law, deliberately punishing criminal suspects and violently attacking them is not an answer to maintaining peace and security in the state,” said Avinash Kumar, Executive Director, Amnesty International India.

Under international law, extrajudicial, arbitrary or summary executions and enforced disappearances are strictly forbidden. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which India is a party prohibits arbitrary deprivation of life and guarantees the right to a fair trial.  Moreover, the UN Principles on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions require that ‘[t]here 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.’ The Supreme Court of India and the National Human Rights Commission have also repeatedly highlighted the unlawful killings by police in India, the rising impunity afforded to them and lack of investigations.

“These killings are presented by the police officials as lawful and as an outcome of a justifiable use of force. But these claims need to be immediately and independently assessed,” said Avinash Kumar.

Background:

Vikas Dubey was arrested on 9 July by the Uttar Pradesh Police in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh after eight policemen were killed in an attempt to arrest him in Bikru village near Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh on 2 July.

The incident occurred when Vikas Dubey was being escorted to Kanpur after the arrest. The Uttar Pradesh police have alleged that Vikas Dubey was killed in ‘self-defence’ when he snatched the firearms from the police after the car in which he was being taken overturned, and started firing at the policemen. One of the five associates of Vikas Dubey, 20-year old Prabhat Mishra was also killed in ‘self-defence’ when he allegedly snatched the firearms from a policemen and started firing at them.

The killing of Vikas Dubey and his associates comes after Yogi Adityanath, the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh had said that the “sacrifices of the policemen will not go in vain” and called for “strictest action against the perpetrators”.

In December 2019, four undertrial prisoners accused of raping and murdering a 25-year old veterinarian were killed in Hyderabad, Telangana by the police. The police version of their deaths was also similar and included claims of a “crossfire”.

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