Lucknow: Late on the night of Saturday last, Jitendra Yadav, a gym trainer, was shot by a policeman in Uttar Pradesh’s Noida, adjacent to the national capital. Mr Yadav is in hospital in a critical condition. Two others who were with him were also injured. His family has alleged that the police stopped and shot them while they were returning from a family function and that the attack was caste-related and carried out for rewards.
The Uttar Pradesh police have denied this, but have issued two completely different reports on the incident. In one of the press releases, the UP police claimed that the gym trainer and others were having dinner with a sub-inspector and that the cop opened fire after an argument.
The Noida police chief has, however, said in his report to his seniors that Mr Yadav and the other young men, were drinking in a public place and were playing loud music on their car deck when they were asked to move by Sub-inspector Vijay Darshan Sharma. The report says the policeman was trying to make the men sit in the car when his pistol fired hitting Jiendra Yadav in his neck.
Both reports were issued the same day on February 4.
Sub inspector Sharma, who shot Mr Yadav, has been arrested; four other cops have been suspended and an investigation is on.
On Monday, the National Human Rights Commission sent a notice to the Uttar Pradesh government, its second in 10 months, over the shooting. “The Commission has observed that it seems that the police personnel in the State of Uttar Pradesh are feeling free, misusing their power in the light of an undeclared endorsement given by the higher ups. They are using their privileges to settle scores with the people,” the NHRC said in a strong statement.
“These are all farmers, not criminals. The police must be taught lessons in law,” said Vajeshni Yadav, a relative of Jitendra Yadav, alleging that the police are targeting young men in the area, staging fake encounters to get promotions.
Vajeshni said that on Saturday night Jitendra Yadav, who owns a gym and a shoe store, was dropping them back home from engagement ceremony in Berhampur, in nearby Ghaziabad, when the cops attacked them around 10.30 pm.
The cops beat up and abused Jitendra, he said. “When Jitendra asked what was their fault, the police said, ‘You are a Yadav right’? Jitendra asked ‘Is it a crime to be a Yadav’? The cop said, ‘let me teach you…’.”
Refuting reports of the encounter, UP Director General of Police OP Singh said, “There has been no encounter in Noida. That incident is a criminal activity where one of our sub-inspectors, a shot got fired from him and hit the other person. They were known to each other personally.” He added that “Encounter is one where we crackdown on wanted criminals.”
The opposition parties have also attacked the ruling BJP and UP police over the encounter. “Entire station is criminal and everyone should be suspended,” said UP Congress chief Raj Babbar, adding that “there should be a CBI inquiry.”
Samajwadi Party MP Dharmendra Yadav has also given a Zero hour notice and adjournment motion notice in Lok Sabha over the shooting.