ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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In Cold Blood

Strict implementation of nhrc guidelines for investigation into fake "encounters" is a must.

The killing of five suspected bank robbers in Chennai on 23 February by police officers tasked with apprehending them looks suspiciously like yet another case of a fake “encounter”. News reports following the killing have brought out various inconsistencies in the claim of the police that they fired in self-defence.

After directives from the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), an enquiry into the incident has been initiated by the Crime Branch-Criminal Investigation Department of Tamil Nadu. A public interest litigation filed by a human rights organisation seeking to investigate more than 20 cases of “encounter deaths” in the past four years in the state is already pending in the Madras High Court. Though the police can claim the right to defend themselves, that they acted in self-defence must be subsequently clearly established and cannot be based on press statements of an unavoidable and risky fi refight that are more often than not usually lapped up by an uncritical media.

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