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Commissions on Encounters

I have read with interest N Venugopal’s fine tribute to the memory of Azad, a victim of encounter-murders (17 July). Siddartha Shankar Ray, a former chief minister of West Bengal had contributed the term “encounter-murder” to the English language vocabulary. K P S Gill also adopted the same methodology to eliminate the Khalistanis in Punjab. The trigger-happy policemen of Andhra Pradesh do not lag behind.

Venugopal refers to the appointment of the Justice B Bhargava Commission in the 1970s to inquire into the encounter-murders in Andhra Pradesh. Unfortunately, the commission’s sessions ended in a fiasco. At the behest of Arun Shourie, then an economist and a civil rights activist, Jayaprakash Narayan persuaded justice Bhargava to head the inquiry commission. Besides Shourie the other member was Balwanth Reddy, an economist with the Administrative Staff College of India (Hyderabad).

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