When asked about hopes from NHRC, Brinda Adige, Equal Rights Activist, pointed out that “Most Commissions in India have political appointees,” and added that she does not have much hope from them but is optimistic about the future.
Following is the excerpt of the full conversation;
Q1. Please share in detail all the lapses you find in Telangana police’s version of the encounter.
Ans. Indian police have manuals, protocols, rules to be followed in every instance. Newer laws mandate video-recording of all procedures, steps followed by the police taking the statement of the accused, interrogation, including re-creating the scene. Have these laid-down procedures and protocols not followed? Assuming 3.00 AM recreation has been decided, why the crime scene was not secured by the police, any form of tools (stones-sticks) were not removed from the path/scene? Why the accused were not handcuffed or held? Why police guns/revolver were not properly secured? How come all the four accused were not separated, so as to have no communication to plot/plan...Why only police personnel were there and no other witnesses? Firing should be the first 1st in air, then under knees to immobilise the accused...was this followed?
Lastly, why not even a single policeman wore a bulletproof vest?
Q2. Flower petals were showered on the police at the site of the encounter. Why according to you so many people are supporting what you term extrajudicial killings.
Ans. Citizens are fed-up, frustrated and have lost confidence in the justice system and the corrupt officials. System drags its feet in every case of this nature. Impunity and callousness by perpetrators and powers-that-be.
Many of the people believe this is how Justice is to be served. They refuse to ask the pertinent, difficult questions of why such crimes continue, why no “feeling of safety”, why no street lights, why no proper speedy responsive system, why vacancies in judiciary are not filled, why so many police personnel are sitting around guarding politicians and bureaucrats, instead of patrolling streets or involved in investigations of crime, why forensic labs are ill-equipped. There is no coordinated action between various stakeholder departments.
Q3. What will transpire if extrajudicial killings are justified?
Anarchy, lawlessness, death of democracy and citizens’ right to demand State accountability.
Q4. Will it ever be established that it was not an encounter and was indeed extrajudicial killing?
Ans. Our bureaucrats are experts of evasive explanations that will neither accept nor deny the facts and the truth of the matter. So, technically we will not get any black and white response. We are all experts in “selective amnesia”, and will systematically work towards not bringing the matter to a logical conclusion. But I am an optimist and hope that just to set a precedent, the Hyderabad encounter will be established as extrajudicial killings, every decision-maker at every level must be called out and the findings must not just name scapegoats to appease anyone.
Q5. What hopes do you have with the NHRC team that is going to analyse the events that led to the encounter?
Ans. Most Commissions in India have political appointees. Why are bureaucrats appointed in these commissions when the aim of these Commissions is to recommend citizen-friendly action devoid of red-tape? Let us again hope they want to go down in history for having sought the correct information and the facts are presented without any flowery borders.
Q6. Finally, what according to you is a foolproof method to ensure a safer environment for women?
There can never be a foolproof method because the dynamics of power, discrimination, mindsets find ways and means to be in motion... often to prey.
So we make policies, laws, that will forward and promote prevention, protection, prosecution, and create means for rehabilitation, enhance faith in systems and mechanisms for justice. Value enhanced Education, Ethical behaviour, fear of law must be mandated without excuses.