SC may order nationwide probe on fake encounters

Gujarat government has sought direction to deal with all cases of fake encounters in a 'uniform manner'.

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The Supreme Court has hinted at ordering a nationwide probe into all the incidents of ‘fake encounters’ in the past decade and sought the response of the Centre and all the state governments on the issue of vital human rights that has been raised by the Gujarat government.

While hearing a lawsuit filed by the Gujarat government which claims it has been selectively targeted by some vested interests for certain encounter killings, the court on Friday said the issue requires attention. The Gujarat government has sought direction to deal with all cases of fake encounters in a “uniform manner”.

The Modi government has been under judicial scrutiny over the killings of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, his wife Kauser Bi and an eye witness Prajapati in ‘fake encounters’. It had paid Rs10 lakh compensation for the killing of the couple though it claimed to justify it by saying that Sheikh was a terrorist and had come to Gujarat to assassinate chief minister Modi to avenge the 2002 carnage.

According to a report, NHRC received complaints that 40 people were killed by security forces in Uttar Pradesh in alleged fake encounters in 2010-11.  During 2008-09 and 2009-10, 71 people were killed in the state in alleged fake encounters. Official sources said there were 369 cases of alleged fake encounters registered by NHRC beginning 2008-09 till June from across the country. In 90 cases, where police action was found to be doubtful, NHRC has recommended monetary relief of Rs4.54 crore to the next of kin of the deceased.

After Uttar Pradesh, Manipur recorded the second highest number of fake encounter cases during 2008-09 (16), 2009-10 (32), 2010-11 (10) and one in first half of 2011.

In its petition, the Gujarat government said suitable directions regarding the manner in which all the cases of fake encounters in the country must be dealt with “would ensure protection of human rights”.

The state said terrorism has already taken a toll on the lives of approximately 72,000 civilians and 12,000 security personnel in the terror prone states. Recently, the Supreme Court appointed a monitoring authority constituted by the Gujarat government to probe the 22 cases of killings in fake encounters.

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