News: 70 extra judicial killings in 10 yrs

Nov. 9: The Tamil Nadu police, in the last 10 years, have carried out over 70 ‘extra judicial killings’ in the name of encounters, and activists are baffled at the way law-enforcers flout human rights guidelines and procedures while dealing with encounter deaths.

“No one has the right to take any body’s life. And, moreover, it is the duty of the police to safeguard the accused. Every time, after an encounter, the police come up with stories full of holes,” says Ms Sudha Ramalingam, a lawyer-activist.

Since 2000 till date, the state police have killed over 70 persons (not including forest brigand Veerappan and those killed along with him) in encounters. Despite human rights activists crying foul after every encounter death, the police continue to go ahead with the extra judicial killings citing one reason or the other.

Usually, the police claim they were forced to open fire when the criminal tried to attack them while being nabbed.

In the case of Mohanakrishnan in Coimbatore, the police killed him while he was in their custody. “This is not the first time an accused is being killed while in police custody officially. History-sheeter Chinna Mari was in police custody when he was gunned down in Avadi in 2001,” a police official recalls.

“After the DMK came to power in 2006, 30 people have been killed in encounters. There are courts to deliver judgments and punishments. The police have no right to kill people,” notes Mr G. Sugumaran of the federation of people’s rights.

The national human rights commission had recommended registering an FIR under section 302 against the policeman who shot and killed the accused. “But no police official bothers to follow it and encounter killings keep happening,” says Ms Ramalingam.

Deccan Chronicle / 10.11.2010

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