We have seen our films, saturated with macho policeman carrying out their self-righteous brand of justice. But there have been cases in real life too, where the mannerisms have come to be questioned, scrutinized and even fall into the lap of controversy.
Jahan was a 19-year-old girl from Mumbai who was gunned down along with 3 other men: Zeeshan Johar, Amjad Ali Rana and Pranesh Pillai on 15 Jun, 2004 according to Police files. The four were believed to be Lashkar-e-Taiba (LET) operatives plotting to kill then Chief Minister of Gujarat, Mr. Narendra Modi. An investigation into the encounter later revealed that the killing of Ishrat was staged. The decision was challenged by the Gujarat state government in high court. Later, in 2013 the CBI filed its first chargesheet in an Ahmedabad court claiming the shootings to be orchestrated.
Sohrabuddin Anwarhussain Sheikh was an underworld criminal who died while in police custody on November 26, 2005. On the day of his killing, Sohrab was travelling from Hyderabad to Maharashtra with his wife. The ATS wing of the Gujarat police stopped the bus and took the both of them away. Three days later, Sheikh was killed in an alleged encounter just outside Ahmedabad. Intervention by Sheikh’s brother and several media houses breaking the conspiracy story lead to investigations by the CBI, which resulted in the arrest and conviction of most police officers involved.
Tulsiram Prajapati was an associate of Sohrabuddin, killed at a later date, in police custody, for alleged reasons that he was witness to the Sohrabuddin Shooting. Prajapati was killed in Dec, 2006. In 2011, the investigation into the killing was taken up by the CBI.
The Batla house encounter took place on 19 Sep, 2008 in Jamia Nagar, Delhi. Two suspects were killed during the encounter while two others were arrested. The shootings resulted in widespread angst and protests against the authorities, especially from students and teachers of Jamia Milia Islamia University. Several political parties demanded inquiry into the shootings. A report by the Human rights commission in 2009, cleared the Delhi Police of any misdoings.
Perhaps the most controversial of all encounters was the one where two terrorists were gunned down in the basement of Ansal Plaza, Delhi in 2002. Doctor, Hari Krishna a homeopathic doctor, and a self-proclaimed witness of the incident, claimed that the shootings were fake and later produced a list of names he believed were behind the conspiracy. Strangely, other eye-witnesses never quite concurred to Krishna’s viewpoint. Krishna went missing for some time in the subsequent years and then later also tried to retract his statements.
Allegedly an aide of underworld don Chhota Rajan, Ramanarayan Gupta was killed in an encounter by the Mumbai Police near Versova, in suburban Mumbai. Lakhan Bhaiyya, as he was known by most, was picked up from Navi Mumbai on Nov 11, 2006 on the basis of suspicion. He was later gunned down the same day. After lodging in a request, Gupta’s brother and lawyer managed to get a Court inquiry underway, which eventually resulted in the arrest of 22 policemen, believed to have been involved in staging of the shooting.
The encounter of mafia don Dawood Ibrahim’s henchman, Maya Dholas- perhaps not as controversial – deserves a mention as it was the first televised police shooting on national television. Streamed live and video-graphed by the Police, the shooting was one of the biggest operations carried out by a police force, and spanned over 4 hours. Aftab Ahmed Khan, who led the Police on the day became a household name and a national hero. It was alleged later, that the Mumbai Police have made away with 70 lakh of cash recovered from the flats where Dholas and his surrogates were staying. The allegations, however, could not be proved and the encounter was etched in the history of the Indian Police Force – especially the much intriguing and long running duel between Dawood Ibrahim and the Mumbai Police.