Uttar Pradesh gangster Vikas Dubey, the main accused in the killing of eight policemen in Kanpur, was shot dead in an encounter Friday. The police claimed Dubey tried to flee with an inspector's pistol after the car carrying him from Ujjain overturned on the outskirts of Kanpur city, leading to his encounter.
Apart from Dubey, five of his alleged aides have also been killed in encounters over the last one week.
Questions have been raised over the Uttar Pradesh police’s claims, as Dubey was alleged to have links with politicians.
Here’s a look at some of India’s controversial encounter killings:
Hyderabad Rape Accused (2019)
The Hyderabad police encounter of four men accused of raping a 26-year-old veterinary doctor came days after their arrest. The gangrape of the veterinary doctor on November 27 had shocked the country—she had been attacked by the men near a desolate toll plaza near Shamshabad on the city's outskirts and her burnt body was found at an underpass on the Hyderabad-Bangalore highway. Within a day, the police had picked up two lorry drivers and their two workers—Mohammad Ali alias Mohammad Arif, Jollu Shiva, Jollu Naveen Kumar and Chintakunta Chennakeshavulu, all of them in their twenties.
On December 7, all four were killed in an encounter at the same place where Disha's body had been found. The police claimed the men had been taken to the spot for further investigation when they snatched a rifle and tried to attack the team.
Bhopal Jail Break (2016)
Eight undertrial prisoners who had fled from the Bhopal Central Jail were shot dead by police on 31 October 2016. The prisoners were members of the banned outfit Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).
The incident became controversial as video clips, purportedly of the events, surfaced, and questions were raised about the details of the jail break and the encounter that took place at a hillock near the city. The kin of the SIMI activists called for an impartial inquiry by the CBI to ascertain the truth. In June 2018, a judicial probe gave a clean chit to the police observing that the prisoners had fired at the police when asked to surrender.
Red Sanders Smugglers (2015)
The killing of 20 woodcutters, allegedly smugglers of Red Sanders (known for its medicinal value and is used in making cosmetics, musical instruments and furniture) sparked off a furore in April 2015. The Andhra Pradesh special task force—set up to curb the smuggling of Red Sanders—said that their team has been attacked by more than 100 woodcutters with axes and knives. The incident set off uproar in neighbouring Tamil Nadu where many of the deceased men hailed from.
Warangal Acid Attackers (2008)
The acid attack on two students of an engineering college in Warangal (then in undivided Andhra Pradesh) in December 2008 had sparked widespread outrage. The two young women were returning home from college when they were attacked. Within a couple of days, the local police picked up three men—Srinivas Rao, P Harikrishna and B Sanjay. One of them had confessed to planning the attack because his advances had been spurned by one of the victims, police said.
The same day, the trio was killed in an encounter which, the police said, took place when they tried to attack cops while they were at a spot on the outskirts of the city to recover material evidence used for the crime.
Ishrat Jahan (2004)
In June 2004, 19-year-old Ishrat Jahan and three others were killed in an alleged encounter on the outskirt of Ahmedabad. The police claimed all four were operatives of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and were involved in a terror plot to kill Narendra Modi, who was the chief minister of Gujarat at that time. However, a probe by a special investigation team (SIT) set up by the Gujarat High Court said the encounter was staged. The Supreme Court later handed over the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which filed a chargesheet against several Gujarat police officers.