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‘Soft’ state has blemishes too

india Updated: May 10, 2007 14:45 IST
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Holi is no longer a happy time for the Samadhiya family. On March 24, 2005, 23-year-old Amit Samadhiya was allegedly killed in a fake encounter along with two friends at the Mela ground in Gwalior. Amit, with friends Abhishek Sharma and Ganga Shivhare, had allegedly been shot in the wee hours.

Amit and Abhishek (23) were suspected of murdering their friend Vivek Khare in January 2005. However, the local media reported that the police may have had bumped off Vivek at the instance of an influential family whose widowed woman had an affair with the deceased.

The parents, buoyed by support and demonstrations by outraged citizens’ groups, had approached the police, courts and the human rights commission for justice. Eventually they ran out of money and steam.

But now the national uproar over the alleged fake encounter killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh in Gujarat has rekindled hope for Amit’s family. MP is still regarded a “soft state” with encounters — fake or otherwise — being fewer than neighbouring UP and Rajasthan.

“Because of constant harassment by the police, I handed over my son and his two friends to them. N.K. Upadhayay, in charge of the Gole Ka Mandir police station, assured that they would not be harmed. But they killed all the three in cold blood on Holi,” recalled Amit’s father Nihal Samadhiya.

Amit and Abhishek had got a house on their guarantee to Vivek on rent. Once Vivek was eliminated, the police implicated Amit and Abhishek. Although they had no criminal record, the police announced Rs 5,000 reward on their heads. On Holi night, the police allegedly took the three young men — Ganga Shivhare from Uttar Pradesh had come to meet his friends — to the Mela ground and killed them. The police inquiry instituted following protests found nothing foul in the encounters.

The Samadhiya family had moved the local Chief Judicial Magistrate's court, which dismissed their petition observing that government permission for trial of the accused police officials could not be obtained.

The family petitioned the high court, which also dismissed their petition, saying the matter was already being heard in a lower court.

Director General of Police A.R. Pawar admitted that the police encounter had raised eyebrows but asserted he had no idea about any complaint still lying with the police about the incident.