By LE Desk

New Delhi, May 17: A plea has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking direction for a CBI or NIA probe, supervised by the top court, into the alleged killing of three under-trial prisoners in Uttar Pradesh’s Chitrakoot district jail.

The plea filed by Supreme Court lawyer Anoop Prakash Awasthi has also sought to fix accountability and taking appropriate action against those found responsible, news agency PTI reported.

Direction for a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) or the National Investigation Agency (NIA) into all extrajudicial killings that took place since March 18, 2017, in Uttar Pradesh after Yogi Adityanath took over the charge of the state as chief minister was also sought by the petition.

On May 14, three under-trial prisoners, including a member of BSP MLA Mukhtar Ansari’s group, were shot dead inside the Chitrakoot district jail after which the Uttar Pradesh government suspended two jail officials, police had said.

The three inmates gunned down in the district jail at Ragauli were identified by police as Anshu Dixit, Merazuddin alias Meraj Ali and Mukeem Kala, belonging to Sitapur, Ghazipur, and Shamli districts, respectively, in Uttar Pradesh.

The plea alleged that in a mature, civilised, democratic, and rule of the law based country like India, history of violence should be remembered and not repeated, but in Uttar Pradesh, a battle is being fought in its jails where the police, under the direct orders of the top of the administration is summarily executing the prisoners on frivolous excuses.

“…this culture of violence promoted in the state of UP (Uttar Pradesh) militates against the basic notion of the rule of law where violence has become a collective enterprise to portray the authority of the government and obscure its failures,” it said.

The plea said that the biggest worry qua the extra-judicial killings if gone unchecked is that the life of any citizen can be taken anytime by state agencies.

“Any enmity or private dispute or quest of settling private score may lead to the filing of few criminal cases in some police station against the undesired person, branding him a dreaded criminal within days, to be taken into custody as under trial, and fellow may be eliminated by being shot anytime anywhere by the police/law enforcement authorities on any false pretext like an attempt of snatching a rifle or pistol of a fellow police personnel during transportation or even inside the jail”, it said.

Anoop Prakash Awasthi in his plea said that this PIL is being moved for seeking an independent inquiry under the aegis of this court through the agency of the best serving officer of CBI or NIA into the latest killings that happened in the Chitrakoot district Jail of Uttar Pradesh.

“The police version of the three killings happened on May 14, in the Chitrakoot Jail of Uttar Pradesh shows that one under trial Anshu Dixit from Sitapur lodged in Chihakoot Jail opened fire and killed two others in the jail and was shot by police in retaliatory fire,” the plea state.

“It is interesting to note that in a video circulating in the media said Anshu Dixit is seen saying about the plans of jail authorities to kill him by some means through STF,” Anoop Prakash Awasthi’s plea said.

The plea added that it is further astonishing to find that the two other killed inmates namely Merajuddin and Mukim Kala were transferred to the Chitrakoot jail only recently on March 20, and May 7 respectively purportedly as “part of the larger design behind the shootout”, PTI said.

The PIL alleged, “the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh has openly promoted the culture of encounters/ extrajudicial killings and …completely forgotten the enshrined ideals of separation of power intertwined in the basic structure of our constitution and fundamental right to life under Article 21, and thus encroached upon the domain of punishment and sanctioning the taking of life in encounters without following the due process of law”.

It said that life can be taken only through the “procedure established by law” by following due processes through our judicial machinery prescribed in our constitution.

“It is submitted that the incident of killing in jail or encounters is not the only stray incident. A few years ago, one Munna Bajrangi was shot dead in an almost similar dramatic manner inside the Bagpat jail of Uttar Pradesh. Vikas Dubey encounter happened last year is another example where this court intervened and the matter is still pending”, the plea said.

It said that there have been several hundred encounters with hundreds of killings in Uttar Pradesh since 2017 till date which is not only alarming but equally disturbing.

https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/plea-in-supreme-court-for-probe-into-alleged-killing-of-jail-inmates-in-ups-chitrakoot-2442723

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