In a recent incident in Uttar Pradesh, the Special Task Force (STF) has killed two criminals, including the son of infamous gangster Atiq Ahmed. According to the STF, the encounter took place in the wee hours of the morning in a village in the state’s border district.
The deceased have been identified as Asad, Atiq Ahmed’s son, and one of his accomplices. The STF claims that the two criminals were wanted in several cases of heinous crimes, including murder, robbery, and extortion.
This incident has once again raised concerns over the use of encounters by the police in the state. However, the Supreme Court of India has earlier given a nod to such encounters in exceptional cases where the criminals pose a threat to society and law enforcement.
Atiq Ahmed, a former Member of Parliament from the Samajwadi Party, has a long criminal history and is currently serving a life sentence for the murder of a BSP leader. His son’s killing is being seen as a major blow to his gang’s operations in the state.
The STF has stated that they acted in self-defense and that the two criminals fired at them first. However, the encounter has raised questions about the lack of accountability in such situations.
While encounters are seen as a quick-fix solution to the problem of crime, they also raise questions about human rights violations and the rule of law. The Atiq Ahmed incident will undoubtedly spark further debate on the use of such tactics by the police in the state of Uttar Pradesh.
Atiq Ahmed – What is the real story
The case involves the alleged kidnapping of Umesh Pal, who along with his two police guards was shot dead in Prayagraj on February 24. Umesh was an eyewitness in the 2005 Raju Pal murder case in which Ahmed is a prime accused.
“I am totally reduced to dust, but please don’t trouble the women and children of my family now,” gangster-politician Atiq Ahmad told media person from inside a police van on Wednesday, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s “mafiaaon ko mitti me mila denge” warning probably playing on his mind.
The 60-year-old former Samajwadi Party MLA, who faces more than 100 cases in Uttar Pradesh, was taken from the Sabarmati Central Jail in Ahmedabad to a prison in Prayagraj, more than 1000 kms away, by road in connection with the Umesh Pal murder case.
According to Umesh’s wife Jaya, in 2006, the former MP and his associates kidnapped her husband and forced him to give a statement in their favour in court.
Meanwhile, On September 23, 2014, a bench of then CJI RM Lodha and Rohinton Fali Nariman issued detailed guidelines enumerating 16 points to be followed “in the matters of investigating police encounters in the cases of death as the standard procedure for thorough, effective and independent investigation.”
The guidelines came in the case “People’s Union for Civil Liberties v State of Maharashtra”, and included the registration of a first information report (FIR) as mandatory along with provisions for magisterial inquiry, keeping written records of intelligence inputs and independent investigation by bodies such as the CID.
Atiq Ahmed and his brother were produced before a court in connection with the Umesh Pal murder case