Of the 2,560 police encounters reported between 1993 and 2009, nearly half of them were found to be fake, according to the National Human Rights Commission.
In response to a series of Right to Information (RTI) queries by Delhi-based activist Afroz Sahil, the commission has stated that "out of 2,560 cases, 1,224 cases were found to be of fake encounters".
The reply shows that nearly every second police encounter in different parts of the country during the last 16 years turned out to be fake.
Sahil filed RTI applications continuously between 2008 and 2009 with the human rights watchdog to get the information.
Responding to his first application, the commission said on October 20, 2008: "As per record available with the Commission, so far 2,560 cases of police encounter/fake encounter have come up before the NHRC. The commission has so far granted compensation in 16 cases of alleged fake encounters."
The panel, however, did not answer a question on the number of fake encounters.
Not satisfied, Sahil appealed for more information. A month later, the commission stated :"In addition to the earlier reply, it is submitted that of the 16 cases in which certain acts of omission/commission resulting in human rights violations on the part of public servants were found, eight of them are still under consideration."
Sahil filed a fresh application in March 2009 and followed it up with more queries through the year, and finally got a reply.
"Since 1993, of all the encounter cases (2,560), 1,224 were fake encounters, while the cases of death in police custody were 2,320."