From Kashmir to Andhra Pradesh through Delhi & Punjab and most recently Manipur, encounter has become an administrative practice of the Indian state particularly its police, para-military, military and other security forces. The civil liberties and democratic rights movement in India has rallied around this issue, raising relentless campaigns to unmask the murders that shroud the euphemistic encounters. In the context of political developments during the ‘emergency’ imposed by the Indira Gandhi government, ‘encounters’ assumed the center stage of critical political debates in India.
The Tarkunde Committee, although not appointed by Governemnt, made alarming revelations about state practice on ‘encounters’. In its report titled "Encounters are Murders, the Committee confirmed that the police and the government of Andhra Pradesh were involved in the cruel practice of committing planned murders and covering it up as encounter. It recommended that the central government institute an independent commission of inquiry to verify facts about encounters. Clearly, what was being labeled by the government as encounters was a planned strategy of the government and its security forces to combat dacoits gangsters, members of the underworld, terrorists, naxalites, petty criminals, etc.A chronicle of encounter cases investigated by civil liberties and democratic rights groups in last thirty five years reveals a familiar pattern behind each encounter. The present report is the position paper which was distributed during 24th Ramanadham Memorial Meeting organised jointly by PUDR and APCLC on 3rd September 2009 at Indian Law Institute, New Delhi