As many as 15 persons had been gunned down in police encounters in Uttar Pradesh since the BJP government came to power in the State earlier this year, marking an aggressive stance against criminals.
Nine of the 15 alleged criminals were killed in Western U.P.’s Meerut zone alone. The highest number was in the sensitive district of Shamli with four, followed by three in Azamgarh and two each in Muzaffarnagar and Saharanpur. The remaining were in Chitrakoot, Lucknow, Mathura and Hapur.
The data, released by the police, was collected from March 20 — a day after the Yogi Adityanath government took oath — till September 14.
The latest encounter took place in Azamgarh on Thursday when police gunned down one Ramji Pasi, in the busy Ramganj Bazar area. Pasi, wanted in many crimes, had a reward of ₹15,000 on his head. According to police, the accused on being surrounded, shot at the police team, injuring one constable.
“Pasi was injured in retaliatory firing and died in hospital. His aide Rakesh Pasi escaped,” a police spokesperson said.
A .30 bore pistol was recovered from Pasi.
Anand Kumar, ADG Law and Order, said the police action has rattled criminals.
The encounters were conducted in the interest of society as per the “desires of the government, expectations of public and according to the constitutional and legal power accorded to the police,” he said.
In an interview to The Hindu in June, Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya had indicated strong action against criminals. “Today criminals are terrified with the thought that either they will have to give up crime or leave U.P., or maybe even leave this world,” Mr. Maurya had said when asked about the BJP government’s strategy to deal with cases of crime.
The BJP government’s approach is reminiscent of the tough stand against criminals showcased by former CM Kalyan Singh.
The encounters left 84 injured with the highest being in Meerut (40), followed by Bareilly (18) and Agra (11) besides 88 policemen. Two were killed in shootouts, the most recent one in Chitrakoot.
In total, 420 encounters were recorded with the highest 193 in Meerut zone, 84 in Agra, 60 in Bareilly, 44 in Kanpur, 19 in Allahabad, 11 in Varanasi, 7 in Lucknow and the lowest two in Gorakhpur zone, which includes the home turf of Mr. Adityanath.
Since March 20, 1,106 accused had been arrested, including 868 ‘rewarded criminals’ or those with a bounty.
The police also invoked the National Security Act 54 times and the Gangsters Act 69 times since March 20.