NHRC finds encounter `doubtful`, recommends compensation
New Delhi: National Human Rights Commission on Friday severely indicted the Union Home Ministry, Delhi Government and the Delhi Police by finding a 2006 encounter "doubtful" and recommending a total compensation of Rs 25 lakh to the victims.
In a statement released on Friday, the Commission also accused Delhi Police of "self-serving evasiveness" and "non-cooperation" on part of the Delhi Government.
The encounter had taken place on May 5, 2006 when a team of the Special Cell of Delhi Police shot down five men, namely Ayub, Babu, Sanjay, Aslam and Manoj. The Special Cell had then claimed that all were gangsters and were on their way to commit crime in the national capital.
The Commission had registered a case in this regard in 2006-2007 on the basis of an intimation received from the father of one of the victims.
"On the basis of the material on record, the Commission has found the encounter doubtful and has recommended Rs 5 lakh each to the next of kin of five persons killed in the encounter," the NHRC statement said.
The Commission has set aside the contention of the Union Home Ministry that "the Delhi Police have amply proved that the encounter was genuine and therefore no justification for the relief". It has held this response to its show cause notice as an extra-ordinary assertion made without any mooring in facts.
NHRC said that it was unable to understand how the Ministry of Home Affairs claimed "the Delhi Police has managed to prove that the encounter was genuine".
"The Commission has also deplored the "intransigence of the authorities concerned for refusing to accept its recommendation to hold a CBI enquiry in this case" which, it felt was essential," the statement said.
It has further observed that in 2003, it had issued guidelines to all States to hold magisterial enquiries in the aftermath of any encounter wherein there was a loss of life. All State Governments have accepted these guidelines and act on them.
"The egregious exception is in the National Capital Territory, where the Delhi Police, which appears to be deeply apprehensive of any impartial scrutiny of its actions, opposes magisterial enquiries and has an extra-ordinary veto on these decisions.
"There was total non-cooperation from the Government of Delhi. The police did not forward all the relevant documents to the Commission such as seizure memo of the articles recovered from the scene of occurrence and map of the scene of occurrence," the statement said.
There was no explanation for non-collection of scientific evidence. During the course of enquiries, the Commission found that the encounter happened in Yamuna Khadar area by the Delhi Police which was provided assistance from the Uttar Pradesh Police, it said.
"This self-serving evasiveness of the Delhi Police is supported by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, though it is the Nodal Ministry for the protection of human rights in India.
"This is a sad reflection on the Delhi Police and on the Ministry`s understanding of its responsibilities on human rights. In this case, as usual, no magisterial enquiry was held," the statement said.
The Commission had also directed the District Magistrate, North East Delhi, to conduct an enquiry.
This enquiry, diligently conducted by a senior officer of the Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi, recommended that a CBI enquiry be carried out, having come to the conclusion that "there is ample material on record which creates reasonable doubt about the genuineness of the encounter by the special cell of the Delhi Police".
"The Delhi Police also did not answer any of the points raised by the Commission. It is a travesty, therefore, for the Delhi Police and the Ministry of Home Affairs to claim that it had been proven that the encounter was genuine.
"The other claim made by the Ministry of Home Affairs was that the persons who were killed had serious criminal records. The Commission reminds the Ministry that, under the law, criminals cannot be summarily executed. It was for the police to establish that these men were killed in the exercise of the right of self-defense. This they have failed to do", the statement said.
Further pulling up MHA, NHRC said that the Ministry has put forward the absurd argument that "providing relief to the next of kin of such dreaded criminals would amount to providing incentive for such criminal activities and send a wrong signal".
"The Commission reminds the Ministry that the only criminal activity that has been plausibly established in this case is the murder of five men by policemen appointed to uphold the law, not to break it," the statement said.
"It maintains that a grievous violation of human rights was committed, for which the Government of India should make reparations. Therefore, it has recommended that Rs 5 lakhs each be paid to the next of kin of the late Ayub, Babu, Sanjay, Aslam and Manoj," it said.
The Commission has also asked the government to provide a proof of payment by the April 17, 2014.
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