On Friday, July 3rd, a gangster named Vikas Dubey, became one of the most dreaded names in the country, as he along with his accomplices shot eight police personnel dead, in Bikru Village under Chaubeypur Police Circle.
Reportedly, a police team had gone to Vikas Dubey’s house to arrest him for attempting murder.
Dubey, who was already tipped about the arrest, by a police source, prepared his gang members and opened fire on the police personnel.
He fled along with his accomplices .
The incident left behind only anger and horror in India’s heart, and people began outraging and questioning the UP government.
Within four hours of the incident, the Kanpur Police shot dead two suspects, namely Prem Prakash Pandey and Atul Dubey.
The next day, they also demolished Vikas Dubey’s house in Bikru Village and trampled over his two vehicles and tractors.
Many began questioning the legality of these actions and his family gained sympathy and support from the Brahmin community.
On July 4th, station officer Vinay Sharma was suspended on the suspicion of tipping off the gangster about the raid.
Two days later, three more policemen were suspended on the same suspicion.
On July 5th, Dayashankar Agnihotri, the main aide of Dubey was arrested.
Meanwhile, Dubey was still on the run, as almost fifty teams of state police and STF (Special Task Force) raided his hideouts and arrested his relative Shama, his neighbor Suresh Verma and his domestic help Rekha, in a bid to put pressure on Dubey.
As media followed Dubey’s every move and dug into his past, many pictures and evidence of him being connected to several politicians surfaced, which is what makes this case even more controversial.
Inspector K.K Sharma and officer Vinay Tiwari were arrested on 8th July, after their call records confirmed that they had conversations with Vikas Dubey.
On July 8th, the STF hunted down and killed his aides Amar Dubey in Hamirpur, and Bauan Dubey in Etawah. Another of Dubey’s aide, Prabhat Mishra was arrested in Faridabad.
The very next day Prabhat was shot dead in an encounter.
Even then Dubey felt like smoke to UP Police’s grasp, as even after frantic searches he was nowhere to be seen.
The Times of India reported that “The borders of the state were sealed and frantic searches were carried out on the highways while Vikas remained holed up in a relative’s house in Kanpur itself for two days.
He then managed to reached Faridabad where he was caught in a CCTV camera at a hotel. The police reached after he had left.”
Even after the searches and police’s efforts, Vikas somehow got into Madhya Pradesh, and then to Ujjain.
On July 9th, he went to the Mahakaal Temple, revealed his identity, and got himself arrested.
Vikas was handed over to the UP STF on the night of 9th July.
He had reached Kanpur on the morning of 10th July when reportedly, the SUV bringing him overturned and the gangster tried to flee. He was then shot dead in an encounter.
The encounter of Vikas Dubey raised many suspicions, on several valid grounds.
The foremost being that why were media personnel who were following Vikas Dubey stopped 500m before where the incident happened?
Another question that was raised was how did the car overturn?
To which the UP STF stated that “A herd of cows and buffaloes suddenly came in front of the vehicle and the driver swerved the vehicle causing it to overturn”.
The statement further said, “Taking advantage of the situation, Vikas Dubey snatched the pistol of inspector Ramakant Pachauri and got out of the vehicle. He started running away. The second vehicle coming from behind and STF DSP Tej Pratap Singh and other STF personnel stopped and were told that Dubey had run away with the firearm. They chased the gangster and he started firing at them. The STF personnel tried to catch him alive but had to fire in self-defense.”
The STF officers did not answer a question that inquired that why was there no mud on Dubey’s clothes if he had been shot dead while trying to escape through a wet and muddy area.
Further, a question was raised that if Dubey walked with a limp, due to a surgical rod in one leg, how was it possible that he ran so fast from the accident spot?
Furthermore, minutes before his encounter, the gangster Vikas Dubey’s car changed. There were several reports on various social media platforms that Dubey was seen traveling in a Safari car, rather than the TUV300 SUV which overturned.
So far, the police have not responded to any of these questions.
But this was not all, an Article from The Wire drew attention to the similarities between the “encounters” of Vikas Dubey, and his aides.
The similarities between the encounters of Vikas Dubey, his aide Bahua aka Praveen Dubey, and Prabhat Mishra seemed particularly uncanny.
When Bahua was killed, the Etawah senior superintendent of police, Akash Tomar told NDTV that, “Around 3 am, a Swift Dzire was looted by four armed men on a Scorpio. They were stopped about an hour later by cops when they tried to escape. The police chased them and an unidentified man suffered multiple injuries in the crossfire. He was declared brought dead at the hospital.”
The man was later identified as Praveen Dubey while the rest of his accomplices fled.
The killing of Prabhat Mishra again presented many similarities between his and Vikas Dubey’s encounter case.
The Wire reported, “While the vehicle carrying Vikas Dubey was said to have met with an accident following which he tried to flee after snatching a pistol from a policeman, in Mishra’s case, the police van ferrying him allegedly ‘broke down,’ following which, he too tried to flee and reportedly snatched a pistol from a policeman.”
The ADGP reportedly said that Mishra, “took advantage of the situation, snatched a pistol from a policeman, fired at our men, and tried to escape. Our personnel retaliated, during which Prabhat got killed. Several policemen were injured in the incident”
This wouldn’t be the first time this past year that an “encounter” like this took place.
In November 2019, a veterinary doctor was gang-raped and killed by four men in Telangana. While the police were condemned for not taking action before the atrocity was committed (even though the matter was reported to them by the Vet’s sister), they were praised by the very same people for shooting the suspects dead in a similar encounter.
And while one may think that the guilty were brought to justice, the system which allows women to be raped and the police to sit quietly never got fixed. Instead, people gave the very same police officers the power to shoot people dead to satisfy their bloodthirst.
Similarly, by killing the gangster Dubey, the corrupt system that allows such gangs to exist won’t get fixed, instead, the collective outrage of the nation will be put to rest.
While the Article 21 of the Constitution says that no person can be deprived of his or her life without the due process of law being followed, the UP Police boasts of 5178 encounters since 2017.
Which again brings us to an uncomfortable question, why is the police given the power to be both the jury and the executioner?
And why is there no serious inquiry on the matter of the number of encounters in UP?
And how is the police comfortable enough with the number of encounters, unless they are being backed by political top brass?
Vikas Dubey’s death might have relieved many mourning souls, but it may also have closed many chapters in his life, which if opened would have brought forward his obvious nexus with politicians.
Even after many former senior cops along with opposition parties asking for an inquiry, a panel or a judicial investigation has not been set yet.
In the end, I’d like to leave you with a question, was justice truly served?
– Aanandita Singh