Gadchiroli Encounter Must Be Investigated

The Maharashtra police has claimed to have killed 26 Maoists in an encounter in a village in Gadchiroli district on November 13-14, 2021. While there are some conflicting reports about the exact location of the incident, other detailed information about the circumstances of the said encounter and its aftermath is as yet unavailable. Yet police top brass and Ministers have lost no time in issuing triumphalist celebratory statements.

The Supreme Court in its ruling dated 23.09.2014 in People’s Union for Civil Liberties vs. Union of India [(2014) 10 SCC 635] clearly laid down guidelines that must be followed in every case of police encounter killings. In keeping with these guidelines, an FIR should be immediately filed against police personnel involved in the Gadchiroli encounter and a criminal investigation should be conducted by an independent investigating agency, in addition to a magisterial enquiry.

The guidelines further stipulate that no out-of-turn promotion or instant gallantry rewards must be bestowed on the concerned officers soon after the occurrence until it is proved that they acted in self-defence. The Maharashtra Government’s announcement of a Rs 51 lakh reward to the police personnel involved in the Gadchiroli incident is therefore in violation of the law and must be withdrawn.

- Prabhat Kumar
For CPIML Central Committee