After killing two Muslim youths in an alleged encounter on September 20 morning, the Aligarh police has now detained women folk of their families and is likely to declare them as "fugitives" from West Bengal and "implicate" the two in the Kasganj and Muzaffarnagar communal riots.
It may be noted that the police had received a lot of flak for inviting the media to shoot and witness the live 'encounter'. This is probably the first shootout case in the country where the media was asked an hour earlier to reach the spot and film the entire episode.
According to the Pravesh Rana, station house officer (SHO) of Atrauli police station, the police have found enough evidence that the family had fled from Balrampur in Purulia,West Bengal, a few years ago and the two who have been gunned down by the police were involved in recent Kasganj and Muzaffarnagar riots.
Also Read: Live Media Coverage of UP ‘Encounter’ Killings Throws up Many Questions
"The family members are not cooperating with the police in the investigation. They are also not providing us any document related to their address proof nor are they letting us talk to another family member Nafees," Rana said, claiming that family member stopped Nafees from speaking every time he tried to say something.
The family, however, says that Nafees is mentally unstable.
"While recording the statement of the family, Nafees told us that he has been to Dasna jail under section 307 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) but he was immediately stopped from speaking by Shaheen," said the SHO.
Shaheen is Naushad's mother, one of the youth killed in the 'encounter.'
"Neither Shaheen nor Rafikan (Mustaqeem's grandmother) are telling us the exact address. They are misguiding us by saying that they lived in Muzaffarnagar and other places. Later, they confessed that the family originally hails from Purulia in West Bengal but the family members were not able to tell us any reason behind the migration from their native place," he said, adding that the police was also looking at their involvement in the communal riots of Muzaffarnagar and Kasganj.
But it is so far unexplained how their domicile matters in the ongoing episode.
Meanwhile, the Aligarh police is yet to approach the West Bengal police regarding the background and criminal history of these youths.
The SHO had no answer when asked about the alleged involvement of these youths in Muzaffarnagar riots as Mustaqeem's age at that time would have been just 18 while Naushad'a age would have been not more than 12 years.
"We have got some very big inputs in this case and these guys were planning to do something very big in the future. The investigation is on and the SSP will soon brief themedia about the developments," Rana told this reporter without revealing the details of the "input" they found during their investigation.
Repeated attempts to contact the SP and SSP (Aligarh) failed as they did respond to phone calls.
Meanwhile, the Samajwadi Party has termed the killings as a "staged encounter". "Inviting the media to film the shootout shows it was a staged encounter. Earlier also, certain encounters by the UP police came under scanner. The NHRC had issued a notice to the state police in relation to many encounters. In all encounters, the police story remains same. Criminals are shot below the knee. We are not against encounters but certainly we oppose fake encounters. Nobody is above the law, not even the police. Judiciary is the appropriate forum to decide the guilt of a person," said the party's spokesperson, Abdul Hafiz Gandhi.
According to an RTI response obtained from the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) filed by one LK Khurana, the Uttar Pradesh Police has as many as 455 cases of alleged fake encounters registered against them between January, 1, 2005 to September, 2017. The same RTI response also reveals that 1,241 police cases of alleged fake encounters were registered across India.
The RTI clearly mentions that as many as 2,62,625 cases have been registered against the Uttar Pradesh police in the same period of time.
The Uttar Pradesh police has visibly become trigger happy after Yogi Adityanath became Chief Minister on March 19, 2017. According to official data, the police of India's biggest state has conducted more than 1100 encounters and 66 people have been killed. The police which seems to have got a free hand by none other than the Chief Minister of the state never hesitates even a bit when it comes to encounters.
This is, however, not the first time that questions are being raised on 'encounter' killings by the state police. The Supreme Court has already issued a notice to the Uttar Pradesh government over encounters in June last.