Uttar Pradesh is ahead of even terror-stricken states such as J&K and Chhattisgarh when it comes to civilian casualties due to police firing.
The National Crime Record Bureau’s data revealed that at least eighteen civilians were killed and three seriously injured during fifty incidents of police firing in situations like riots and anti-dacoity operations in 2012.
UP’s figures were much higher than that of Chattisgarh and Jammu and Kashmir were police personnel opened fire on people on 195 and 103 occasions, killing only three and seven civilians respectively. Tamil Nadu, with 10 casualties in police firing on seven occasions, was second to UP on the list. The third-most civilians were killed in Rajasthan where at least five people lost their lives in 27 incidents of police firing. Three each civilians were killed in Assam, Chattisgarh, Gujarat, Meghalaya, Tripura and West Bengal.
“The figures of civilians being killed in police firing have gone up with increasing lawlessness in the state. The state had witnessed several communal riots and violent protests in 2012, which is the main reason behind so many deaths in police firing,” said Sriram Arun, former UP DGP, adding, “Police personnel do not kill civilians deliberately.”
Arun explained that the police force has to deal with extremists, separatists and terrorists in Chattishgarh and J&K while the situation is entirely different in UP as cops have to deal with common people involved in communal and sectarian riots. He said a lot of police casualties happen during exchange of fire between the force and extremists who resort to guerrilla warfare. His explanation was also backed by NCRB figures, which showed that the highest number of police casualties (29) and injuries to 51 cops were reported in Chattishgarh while five police personnel were killed and 220 injured in J&K in 2012.
Arun said, “The police force should only use less lethal or non-lethal weapons in situations like riots and violent agitations in UP. This would help check civilian casualties in police firing.”
The police force should not use lethal weapons until they have to deal with extremists and terrorists, he suggested.