Ex-judges, civil servants defend UP govt against ‘crushing dissent’ charge

A group of citizens, including former judges, IAS and IPS officers, on Monday slammed those accusing the Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government of crushing dissent by suppressing democratic protests.

The response of the former officials has come as an apparent rebuttal to another group of former civil servants and others who have often criticised the Yogi Adityanath government for allegedly suppressing dissent and using state instruments to target its critics.

An official statement bearing the sign of Yogendra Narain, former Chief Secretary UP and ex-Secretary-General in the Rajya Sabha, said, “It is a matter of concern that a group of retired civil servants aligned to a particular political stream despite overtly posing as non-political, repeatedly avail of every opportunity to put the Indian democracy, its institutions, and persons legitimately holding high offices in poor light by making ill-considered public statements or writing misconceived communications to various authorities.”

Putting figures, the group of citizens backing the UP government claimed that between March 20, 2017 and July 11, 2021, a total of 8,367 police encounters took place in the state in which 18,025 alleged criminals suffered injuries. Of them 3,246 were arrested and 140 lost their lives, they said.

The group further stated that as many 115 of the alleged criminals who were killed in the encounters carried rewards on their head, with 21 of them carrying rewards of over Rs 50,000 each and nine of them carrying rewards of Rs 1.5 lakh each.

Countering the charge that a disproportionately large number of them were from a minority community, they said 51 out of the 140 belonged to the minority group. They noted that 13 policemen were also killed in these encounters, while another 1,140 policemen were injured.

“Enough checks and balances are in place, from magisterial enquiry to NHRC, and the PUCL guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court. Out of the 140 police encounters in which magisterial inquiries were ordered till July 11, enquiry reports have been submitted in case of 96 encounters, and 81 of them have been accepted by the courts,” the statement read.

“The recent statement containing its judgmental allegations against the Uttar Pradesh government under the garb of protecting the Constitution is an irresponsible and wholly misconceived statement… The political agenda group, while levelling false allegations, has gone horribly wrong on facts, and haywire in its analysis,” it added.

Former Sikkim High Court Chief Justice Permod Kohli and ex-CBI director Nageswara Rao also signed the official letter, besides a number of retired IFS and military officials.