NEW DELHI : Aisha Noori, sister of former parliamentarian Atiq Ahmed and his brother Ashraf Ahmed, who were shot dead while being in police custody in Uttar Pradesh, has moved the Supreme Court seeking a comprehensive probe by a commission headed by a retired judge of the top court into “custodial and extra-judicial” killings of her family members.
Noori, Meerut-based sister of the slain lawmaker, in the petition said the respondents-police authorities are enjoying the full support of the UP government which appears to have granted them complete impunity to kill, arraign, arrest, and harass members of the petitioner’s family as part of a vendetta.
Noori sought orders for probe into campaigns of encounter killings, arrests, and harassment of her family by the UP government.
“The petitioner has uncontestable locus to compel the state to effectively investigate these incidents, because her personal liberty under Article 21 is restricted and infringed by the chilling effect produced by the respondents’ campaign against her family. In order to silence the members of the petitioner’s family, the state is roping them one by one in false cases,” said the petition.
Citing Article 21 of the Constitution, the petitioner submitted that it casts a positive procedural obligation on state authorities to effectively investigate into the custodial deaths of the petitioner’s family members. She also sought an investigation into the encounter killing of her nephew and Atiq Ahmed’s son.
“The purpose of such an investigation is to ensure the effective implementation of the guarantee of life and liberty under the Constitution and to ensure that wherever state agents and bodies are involved in any case of extra-judicial killing, they are held accountable for the same regardless of their standing and rank,” said the plea.
The plea contended that deaths of her family members — Atiq Ahmad, Khalid Azim alias Ashraf and Atiq’s son Asad and their associates — are connected parts of a “vicious and unlawful campaign by Uttar Pradesh government to seek retribution for the deaths of two police officers, namely Sandeep Nishad and Raghvendra Singh who were killed along with Umesh Pal in the unfortunate incident of February 25, 2023”.
The plea contended that a piecemeal inquiry that only looks at singular encounters/killings that have taken place during the UP government’s campaign against the petitioner’s family would fail to bring home the responsibility of the higher authorities who are ultimately responsible for killing the Petitioner’s family members.
“Furthermore, it would centre the blame for the deaths on the officers present on the spot in each case rather than the authorities who are responsible for authorising, planning and coordinating such acts”, it said.
Former Phulpur MP Atiq and his brother were killed in police custody on April 15 in full media glare by three shooters while they were being taken to a hospital in Prayagraj for medical check-up. Atiq’s son Asad was also shot dead by a special task force (STF) team during an encounter in Jhansi in April .
The Supreme Court, on April 28, during hearing on a PIL by advocate Vishal Tiwari, directed Uttar Pradesh government to bring on record steps taken, including inquiries initiated into the killings of Atiq and his brother Ashraf. — IANS