Lucknow, Nov 23: The recent controversial comment made by Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath on encounter killings has come to haunt the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in the state.
In fact, the Yogi government has been issued a notice by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), "asking it to come clear within six weeks on the recent police encounters in the state", reported The New Indian Express.
A few days ago, the priest-turned-politician claimed that the law and order situation was improving in the state and said that criminals will be either jailed or killed in encounters. It is Yogi's open endorsement of encounter killings that caught the attention of the NHRC.
The human rights watchdog has sent a copy of the notice to the UP chief secretary Rajive Kumar seeking a detailed report from the government on encounter killings.
"The NHRC has taken suo moto cognizance of media reports about the government of Uttar Pradesh, allegedly, endorsing killings in encounters by police seeking improvement in law and order situation in the state," the human rights body said.
"The reported statement of the chief minister tantamounts to giving the police department a free hand to deal with the criminals at their will and, possibly, it may result in abuse of power by the public servants," it stated.
The Yogi government has been hogging the limelight for the number of encounter killings that took place since the CM took over the reins of the state early this year.
According to reports, at least 22 "criminals" were gunned down by the police since the BJP came to power in the state on March 18.
The NHRC said that as per official statistics, as reported on the 5th October 2017, 433 encounters had occurred over a period of six months starting from March 2017 when the present government in UP came into existence.
"A total 19 alleged criminals were killed in these encounters and 89 injured. Apart from this, 98 officials were also injured and one died.
Another news story of the 16th September 2017 says that 15 persons had been killed in encounters since the new government came to power in Uttar Pradesh. The State government has, reportedly, described the encounters as an achievement and a proof of improvement in the law and order situation. The Chief Minister was quoted, in a newspaper on the 19th November 2017, saying that 'Criminals will be jailed or killed in encounters'.
The Commission has noted that it has also received intimation about 22 encounter deaths from the State police authorities in the year 2017 till date, as per its standing guidelines," the NHRC said in its statement.