The Supreme Court is monitoring 22 alleged "fake encounters" by the Gujarat Police between 2002 and 2006.
In 2007, three individuals - Javed Akhtar, a poet, Sabnam Hasmi, a social activist and BS Verghese, a 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 involvement.
The Court asked the Committee to examine if the encounters showed a pattern of accusing 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 these matters are sub-judice.
On 2 December 2018, the Court ordered the State of Gujarat to file its reply to the the HS Bedi Committee report by 12 December, 2018. On 3 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 by Gujarat police authorities?
2) Is a pattern discernible from the targeting of individuals belonging to minority communities by labelling them as terrorists?