In their moment of grief, I wish to express my complete solidarity with family members of Vivek Tiwari. His killing by the trigger happy UP police is a direct outcome of the policy of complete impunity given by the Yogi Adityanath to the police to kill citizens. We can’t even imagine the pain and grief of Vivek’s family. But it is time we ask some difficult questions to the lawless Yogi government.
Even as media has woken up to the reality of fake encounters, they are not reporting that there have been over 1400 encounters in UP since Yogi Adiyanath became the CM. Vivek Tiwari is the 68th person to die at the hands of the trigger happy UP police ever Yogi Adityanath became the CM. Just two days back, some of us from #UnitedAgainstHate had gone to the meet the family members of Mustakeem (22 years old) and Naushad (17 yrs), two youth who had been shot dead in a fake encounter in Aligarh about 9 days back. The police had not only killed the two youth (one of them a minor), they had terrorised the family members (all women). The inhumanity of the government can be gauged from the fact that when we reached their homes, the family of the deceased was without food for almost 2 days as the police was not allowing anyone to meet them, or even give them food. The police had raided their homes and had seized all their identity proofs such as Aadhar card and PAN cards.
In each case of encounter killing prior to Vivek’s killing, the police has justified its action stating that they had gunned down dreaded criminals. Naushad and Mustakeem were poor labourers earning 2000–2500 rupees a month, and were picked up from their homes, shot dead, and after their death branded as criminals. They had no crime record in the past. It is so easy to kill someone and then brand them as criminals. Moreover, can the claims of UP be ever taken on face value? The same UP police that a few days back beat up a woman for being friends with a Muslim man? The same UP police that supervised the lynching of Qasim in Hapur? There is complete breakdown of law and order in Uttar Pradesh under Yogi Raj!
We should demand that in all the cases of encounter killings that have taken place in UP, there has to be an independent investigation. The UP police or any other investigative agency that comes under the direct control of BJP led goverments can’t be expected to carry out a fair enquiry. An enquiry, under a sitting judge, has to be initiated to reach the truth of each encounter killing. The onus is on the police to prove that they actually shot in self-defense. After all, the dead can’t come back to prove their innocence.