Encounters Won’t End This!

A young student journalist from NSoJ's UG2 expresses his concern over the recent ‘encounter’ deaths of the rape-accused in Telangana


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Mahadevan K V

Ever since the accused rapists of ‘Disha’ were shot dead, the nation has been celebrating the encounter as justice delivered to her parents. But is this encounter adding insult to our injured democracy?

The Upper and Lower Houses of Parliament have been in uproar. Samajwadi Party MP, Jaya Bachchan went so far as to state: "Rapists should be brought out in public and lynched." Celebrities from sportspersons to movie stars supported the view and also, the news of the encounter.

V C Sajjanar, the Cyberabad City Police Commissioner under whose watch the encounter took place, is being hailed and praised on social media. But, will such ‘encounters’ reduce the number of crimes that happen in our country? For instance, after the brutal gangrape and murder of the veterinarian from Hyderabad, there have been innumerable rapes and other heinous crimes committed against women and girls, across the country.

The afore-mentioned police commissioner was an SP (Superintendent of Police) in Warangal when three acid attack accused were killed in an ‘encounter’, back in 2008. Sadly, after the encounter, that wasn’t the last acid attack on a woman in our country. The recently released data of the National Crime Records Bureau, 2017, reveals shocking statistics -- 148 cases acid attacks were reported in that year alone! Similarly, the latest encounter is not going to stop the rape cases in our country.

Is this the path to justice?

Among the heated debates on social media is the contention that this is the way for Disha’s parents get justice because the legal system moves disappointingly slowly in our country.

But how do we know that the four dead men were the actual perpetrators? What if they were scapegoats for the actual culprits? Imagine what their families are now going through!The core principle of our judicial system is that “An accused is innocent until proven guilty.” The four accused did not undergo any trial in any court. Without that, how can one prove they were guilty? Are we missing the core principle of our judicial system by taking it into our hands? Yes, the Nirbhaya case is still stuck in the country’s judicial system. And her family is yet to receive justice, seven years on. But ‘encounter’ killings are not the solution. Some critical changes should be brought into our Constitution so that there are swifter trials and judgements.

Today, democracy itself is under attack -- as evidenced by shameless horsetrading of MLAs, early morning oathtaking and rampant corruption. Let us at least stop celebrating this ‘encounter’ and start working to defend our democracy and its founding principles. Equally important, we need to focus on preventing crimes against women.

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