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Before Kanpur businessman case, here are 5 times UP Police conduct came under fire since 2020

A 36-year-old Kanpur businessman died during an alleged police raid at Gorakhpur hotel. His death has triggered a storm, with Adityanath govt being blamed for lawlessness in the state.

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Lucknow: Six policemen were suspended after a 36-year-old Kanpur-based businessman died at a hotel in Gorakhpur Monday, during what police claimed was a late-night raid.

The death of the businessman has triggered a political storm, with Opposition parties blaming the Yogi Adityanath government for lawlessness in the state.

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Wednesday said the Uttar Pradesh Police is “soft” on criminals but “brutal” with common people.

 

Meanwhile, former CM and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav said police, under the BJP’s rule, are taking lives rather than protecting them.

“The way cops have behaved in the last four and a half years is unprecedented. Such incidents have become a norm in the state… UP topped in custodial deaths, which happened under the current dispensation,” he said after visiting the victim’s family.

The Gorakhpur incident, which comes days after CM Adityanath accused the previous governments in the state of protecting mafias, has raised questions over the conduct of the Uttar Pradesh Police.

However, this is not the first time that UP Police has been accused of brutality and custodial deaths.

Unnao vegetable seller’s death

On 22 May this year, an 18-year-old vegetable seller, Faisal Hussain, was allegedly beaten to death by Unnao Police. Hussain was allegedly picked up by police from his shop in the Bagarmau area of Unnao on charges of violating Covid-19 lockdown rules.

His family told ThePrint that Hussain was the lone breadwinner and had been doing the job since he was 12 years old. His family alleged that police thrashed Hussain and took him to the station, where he was later found dead.

Police had initially said Faisal’s death happened due to a heart attack, but the post-mortem report identified a head injury as the cause of death.

A murder case was registered against constables Vijay Choudhary, Seemavat and home guard Satya Prakash. The three were arrested later.


Also read: There can be no modern India without an improved police force — think tank urges for reforms


Custodial death in Ambedkar Nagar

In March this year, a 37-year-old man from Azamgarh died in police custody. The deceased, Zia-ud-din, was allegedly picked up by the Ambedkar Nagar SWAT team when he had gone to meet his relatives. Ziyauddin’s family claimed he was tortured by policemen which led to his death.

Eight police personnel were suspended after being booked for murder for their role in the alleged custodial death.

Businessman’s ‘murder’

On 8 September last year, Mahoba-based businessman Indra Kant Tripathi was found dead in his car with gunshot wounds, days after he levelled allegations of corruption against Superintendent of Police Manlial Patidar.

Tripathi’s brother has alleged that Patidar had demanded a bribe of Rs 6 lakh from the businessman and threatened to kill or imprison him in case it is not paid in a week.

A UP Police Special Investigation Team (SIT) formed later concluded that Tripathi died by suicide. The probe found the bullet was fired from Tripathi’s licensed pistol from the front and pierced through his neck.

On 9 September last year, Patidar was suspended with immediate effect on corruption charges and a vigilance probe ordered into his wealth. He is still on the run. Later, on 12 September, he was booked under charges of extortion and attempt to murder after Tripathi’s brother filed a complaint.


Also read: ‘Drunk on power’ UP Police will break the system beyond repair


Hathras rape victim cremation

In September last year, police forcibly cremated a 19-year-old Dalit girl from Hathras who died after being allegedly raped by four men.

The victim’s family claimed police did not allow the family to perform the last rites and, instead, cremated the body at night.

The cremation took place amid heavy police deployment in the village and at the victim’s house.

The Adityanath government later suspended Hathras SP and four other policemen over their handling of the case.

Vikas Dubey ‘encounter’

Kanpur-based mafioso and the main accused in the killing of eight police personnel, Vikas Dubey, was killed in a police encounter on 10 July last year.

According to UP Police, the Uttar Pradesh Special Task Force (STF) was bringing Dubey back to Kanpur from Ujjain, where he had surrendered, when he allegedly attempted to flee. Just before the ‘encounter’, media vehicles, which were following the UP Police convoy were stopped a km away from the place where the encounter happened.

Several questions were raised over police’s version of the encounter. However, an inquiry commission set up at the direction of the Supreme Court gave a clean chit to police.

Apple executive shot dead in Lucknow

In September 2017, Vivek Tiwari, a 39-year-old Apple executive, was shot dead in Lucknow after he allegedly tried to evade a routine police check. Tiwari and his colleague were on their way back home from office when they were approached by two constables on a motorcycle. Main accused Sudeep Kumar and another constable, Prashant Chaudhary, were arrested and dismissed from service.

Lucknow Police personnel had initially claimed that Chaudhary fired in self-defence. However, they retracted their statement and arrested both Chaudhary and Singh.

‘Lack of training’

Speaking about the incidents of alleged police brutality in the state, former UP Director General of Police (DGP) Anand Lal Banerjee blamed “lack of repeated training” for police personnel.

”I would say it seems like a lack of training and lack of repeated training. Basic training needs to be given and it should be repeated in between. I think these things are not happening. There is nobody who is correcting them. It seems nobody is bothered. A mental make-up is required for improving the system. Police reform is the need of the time,” he said.

Meanwhile, an official from the Chief Minister’s Office told ThePrint that after the Gorakhpur incident, CM Adityanath Thursday ordered that policemen found involved in “very serious offences” would be dismissed. The CM also said that no important field postings will be given to any tainted police officers and personnel, the official added.

“He (Adityanath) ordered the police department to identify all such personnel, make a list along with the evidence against them and act against them as per the rules and regulations,” the official said.

(Edited by Neha Mahajan)


Also read: Only public pressure can bring police reforms now. Supreme Court order is gathering dust


 

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