The Uttar Pradesh Police conducted over 3,000 encounters between March 2017 and July 2018, in which 78 alleged criminals were killed, The Indian Express reported on Friday. Chief Minister Adityanath took charge of the newly-elected Bharatiya Janata Party government in the state on March 19, 2017.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Secretary Anup Chandra Pandey has informed all district magistrates in a letter that the killings will be highlighted as “achievements” of the state government on Republic Day. A list of the government’s “achievements” has also been sent with the letter.

The letter said that the state police conducted 3,026 encounters till July 2018. They killed 69 criminals in these encounters, and arrested 7,043, while 838 sustained injuries. The letter also claims that as many as 11,981 criminals had their bail cancelled and they surrendered in courts in the period.

Apart from police officials, the Uttar Pradesh Special Task Force gunned down nine criminals and arrested 139, the letter said.

In the first nine months of the BJP government, till December 2017, only 17 criminals were killed. In the next seven months, however, 61 more were shot dead, The Indian Express reported. The Adityanath-led government had issued a similar letter to district magistrates before Republic Day in 2018, also claiming that the police shot the accused in “self-defence”.

Human rights experts working at the United Nations had on January 11 expressed concern about reports of extrajudicial killings in Uttar Pradesh since March 2017. The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said that these experts have sent detailed information to the Indian government about 15 such cases, most of which concern poor Muslims. “They have yet to receive a response to their letter,” the UN office added in a statement.

On January 14, the Supreme Court issued a notice to the Adityanath government on a petition seeking a court-monitored inquiry into police encounters against alleged criminals in the state. Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said the encounters are a very serious matter and require a detailed hearing. The next hearing in the case is scheduled for February 12.