Washington, February 26 (KMS): The US law firm The Guernica 37 has sought action against Bharatiya Janata Party leader and the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath, along with top police officials for encounter killings in the Indian state.
The Guernica 37 filed a formal submission with the US government seeking sanctions against Adityanath, for his role in extra judicial killings allegedly committed by the police forces between 2017 and 2021. The submission, filed on February 9, 2022, with the Department of State and the US Department of the Treasury, also recommends sanctions against Om Prakash Singh, the recently retired Director-General of the Police of UP, and Sanjeev Tyagi, Superintendent of the Police of the district of Kanpur.
“We believe that there is an evidential basis to suggest that the three individuals were in a position of command and control at the time the police that undertook the killings, that they failed to prevent or punish, and that there are statements and orders which would suggest that a direct link the crimes as alleged,” international lawyer and an Associate Counsel at the Guernica 37, Toby Cadman said in an interview.
He said, the submission presents credible sources that show how the UP police carried out at least 146 extra-judicial killings in a pattern of so-called “encounters” since Yogi Adityanath came into power in 2017 and declared a “zero tolerance policy” against crimes. “These ‘encounters’ are staged confrontations between the police and alleged criminals where the suspects eventually are shot dead in what the police claim is an act of self-defence. However, in many of these cases, witness testimonies, autopsy reports, and other evidence demonstrate that the victims were in fact executed.”
The Guernica 37 Centre, which is based in the United States, is part of the Guernica 37 Group, a specialist group of international criminal and human rights lawyers who work with victims and their communities to secure accountability for violations they have experienced. It is to mention here that America’s Global Magnitsky sanctions allows the US Department of Treasury to sanction individuals if they are responsible for, complicit in or engaged with, “serious human rights abuse” generally understood to include extrajudicial killings, rape, torture, or enforced disappearances. When a person is sanctioned, any property owned by them in the US or in the possession or control of the US persons is “blocked and must be reported to” the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). It also prevents any person or entity in the US from undertaking any financial transactions with these men. Sanctions could also involve a ban on travel to the US.
In January 2019, UN human rights experts wrote to the Indian government expressing alarm at 59 extrajudicial killings by police in Uttar Pradesh since March 2017. “We are extremely concerned about the pattern of events: individuals allegedly being abducted or arrested before their killing, and their bodies bearing injuries indicative of torture,” the UN experts stated at the time.
Meanwhile, a report released by Kashmir Media Service, today, said Yogi Adityanath is known for his anti-Muslim hatred and he was given UP’s CM slot for this anti-Muslim bashing. It said, with each passing day, Yogi Adityanath’s anti-Muslim propaganda is becoming more brazen. “Lynchings and hate speeches targeting Muslims increased manifold in UP since Adityanath became state’s CM. Seeking re-election as UP CM: Adityanath has intensified his anti-Muslims rhetoric,” it said.
The report pointed out that Yogi is a hard-line protégé of fascist Modi. It said, Adityanath, who is an activist of Nazi-inspired Hindu extremist organization Rashtiya Swayam Sevaksangh (RSS) is seen as possible successor of Modi – the butcher of Muslims. Obliterating Muslim history of UP and India has been a part of Adityanath’s communal politics, it added.