The Supreme Court is monitoring 22 alleged "fake encounters" by the Gujarat Police between 2002 and 2006.
In 2007, three individuals - Javed Akhtar, lyrist and poet; Sabnam Hasmi, social activist and BS Verghese, veteran journalist filed criminal Writ Petitions before the Supreme Court, requesting a judicial probe into 24 Police encounters between 2002 and 2006. Note that one petitioner, BG Verghese passed away in 2014.
In 2012, the Supreme Court formed a committee headed by Retired Supreme Court Justice HS Bedi to monitor the probe into the alleged fake encounters by the Gujarat police. These alleged encounters took place when the current Prime Minister was the Chief Minister in Gujarat. Many senior Gujarat politicians and police officials are under suspicion for their involvment.
The Court asked the Committee to examine if the encounters showed pattern of accussing members of minority communities of being terrorists.
After several extensions, the HS Bedi Committee submitted its Report in a sealed cover in March 2018. The Committee did not investigate 5 cases including Shorabuddin Sheikh and Ishrat Jahan as the matters are sub-judice.
On 3rd December 2018, the Court ordered the State of Gujarat to file its reply to the final report by the HS Bedi Committee by 12th December, 2018. On 3rd December, Mr. Tushar Mehta appearing for the State of Gujarat had requested the Court to not make the Report public owing to its sensitive content.
1) Were the 22 civilian deaths between 2002-2006 a result of fake encounters with the Gujarat police authorities?
2) Is there a discernible pattern pointing towards the targeting of members of minority communities by labeling them as terrorists?