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New Delhi: The right group, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) has deplored the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan’s decision to felicitate and provide cash awards to the police officers involved in the fake encounter, which led to the deaths of eight undertrials on the outskirts of Bhopal on 31 October 2016.  It said these hasty actions violate the clear diktat of the Supreme Court.
It recalled that the  2014 Supreme Court guidelines into police encounters clearly state:  “No out-of-turn promotion or instant gallantry rewards should be bestowed on the concerned officers soon after the occurrence and that one must ensure at all costs that such rewards are given/recommended only when the gallantry of the concerned officers is established beyond doubt”.
The Court’s guidelines require the state to take immediate steps to establish, through a fiercely independent investigation, whether the police action was in accordance with the law. All agencies of state are required to cooperate so that a just and fair assessment of facts can be made. The Chief Minister’s actions preempt any possible outcome of the mandated  inquiry into the incident and violates due process norms.
Reacting strongly, Mrs. Maja Daruwala, CHRI Board member says, “I do not diminish the everyday dangers the police face nor the kind of people they are up against, but ultimately due process is paramount. That is what curbs and protects each of us against the untrammeled power of the state”.
A huge question mark hangs over every hour of what took place during the incident, from the time of the escape to the gunning down of 8 people in those fields. The Supreme Court and the police’s own rules require that the extreme step of causing death must be examined by unbiased and independent investigation with absolute freedom from political pressure.
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