Uttar Pradesh minister Asim Arun on Saturday hit back at SP chief Akhilesh Yadav over his allegations of fake encounters in the BJP rule, saying the morale of the state police had hit rock-bottom during the Samajwadi Party's regime but under Yogi Adityanath, the police is responding to bullets with bullets.
The former IPS officer-turned-politician also said that Yadav's remarks that policemen engaged in encounters “will go to jail in future” is another attempt by him to demoralise the force.
According to UP police's data, 178 dreaded criminals have been killed and 4,947 injured in encounters with police from March 20, 2017, to March 15, 2023. In these actions, 13 police officials attained martyrdom on duty, while 1,428 officials were injured.
During a visit to Noida on Friday, Yadav had said that “all encounters” involving the state police were fake and if fairly probed, the officers involved in them would go to jail. He also alleged that since coming to power in the northern state in 2017, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is using the government and the administration to lodge false cases against opposition politicians.
“Encounters are not done, they happen. During the Samajwadi Party (SP) rule in Uttar Pradesh, criminals opened fire on police and the police felt it was better to escape from criminals than engage in a gunfight. This was because the morale of the police had hit rock-bottom during Akhilesh ji's government,” Arun told PTI during a visit to
Delhi-NCR on Saturday.
“On the other hand, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath worked towards boosting the morale of the force. He assured the police that the government would stand by them if they are right (in their work) and take strict action against policemen for any wrongdoing. The result of this approach has been that today the police does not try to escape criminals, but respond to bullets with bullets,” the state social welfare minister said.
He said in situations that are defined as 'encounters', now in 90 to 95 per cent of cases, the police are successful in arresting the criminals, while it is only on some occasions that “deadly force” is used which has resulted in the death of some criminals.
“The number of such episodes has also gone down. The morale of criminals has gone down, the morale of police has gone up because criminals have understood the repercussions of opening fire at police,” he said.
“In cases of encounters, there is a due procedure of magisterial probe which is followed and it is only after that that the case is closed,” he added.
He credited Adityanath with transforming the law and order situation in the state.