Encounter killings, lynchings signify a lawless society
Why do we have courts of law and process of evidence at all? Do away with all that and hand over the country to one ‘good’ cop and immediate retributive action will solve all problems. Should we?
Rape is a heinous crime and murder committed to escape being caught for rape is doubly serious, no doubt.
But does rape committed by poor urchins, bus drivers, conductors, cleaners and other poorer slum dwellers become more heinous than that by MLAs, MPs, ministers or former ministers, or generally upper caste savarnas?
The victims of the resourceful aggressors suffer ignominy, harassment and torture, often extending to the entire family as in the case of Unnao rape victims or the Shahjahanpur law student allegedly raped over a long period by a former Union Home Minister Swami Chinmayanand.
The rapists of Nirbhaya surely deserved severest punishment under the law and the courts have rightly awarded them so, although the worst criminal of them who violated her most viciously, brutally and violently was spared because he pleaded that he was still a minor. But that is law and the law should be upheld by all for all, with no distinction of class, caste, creed, religion or region.
But Unnao rape accused Kuldeep Singh Sengar, a BJP MLA and a ministerial aspirant in Yogi government before this case came to light, is a subject of empathy and compassion for the BJP MP from Unnao Sakshi Maharaj, himself one time accused of abduction, confinement and rape by a school principal.
Never mind that the police refused to take cognizance of the complaint of Sengar’s alleged victim for long, encouraging the Sengar parivar to charge her father of raping her instead, torturing him, after which the police too tortured him causing him to die of the injuries soon after being released from custody. Only when the victim made a public spectacle before the police station in the presence of TV channels that the UP administration was forced to move.
Even after that the car carrying the girl and her family members to the court was rammed allegedly to kill the victim, with the needle of suspicion pointing naturally at the accused.
Those arguing for instant retribution a la Amitabh Bachchan style could cite this instance to justify the murder of the four accused in the Hyderabad veterinarian’s rape and murder case, passed off by the Hyderabad police as “encounter killing” by unarmed men in police custody.
They would say if you don’t take immediate retributive action the result would be a repeat as in the latest Unnao rape case where the victim was burnt to death in broad daylight in full public view. True. But then why have courts and law of evidence at all? Do away with all that and hand over the country to one Amitabh Bachchan and immediate retributive action will solve all problems.
This so called “encounter killing” as done under the leadership of much feted Cyberabad Police Commissioner C.V. Sajjanar, showered with rose petals is suspect in the eyes of most discerning observers and law-abiding citizens.
The difference is whereas in the instance of the two Unnao rape cases as also the Swami Chinmayanand case or that involving earlier Sakshi Maharaj, the victims had not only identified the perpetrators of the crime but even provided some hard evidence to the police (in the case of Chinmayanand at least three dozen videos of the sexual exploitation of the poor law student).
Whereas in the case of the Hyderabad rape victim the police had caught some four individuals and it had yet to prove in a court of law beyond reasonable doubt that the four persons it had caught were really the ones who had perpetrated the crime, and not the police had caught random persons and killed them to earn kudos and quieten public outrage over the inefficiency and incompetence of the law enforcing agency whose timely action could have saved the life of that poor girl.
On the other hand, the student of Chinmayanad’s law college who provided the police all the documentary evidence in the form of video with clear audio recordings in it too, of Chnimayanand’s crime, was pursued by the police caught in Rajasthan and arrested and jailed on Chinmayanad’s allegation that he was blackmailed.
He has not denied that he was raping the poor girl over a long period, but just said that the girl and the boy assisting her were trying to extort some money from him. Chinmayanand was sent to the hospital and the girl and her friend to jail by our police.
In the latest Unnao rape and murder by burning case, where all the five named by the girl and as a matter of fact seen by by-standers were upper caste men including the main accused Shubham Trivedi who allegedly raped her over a long period by making a video of the act and then blackmailing her. She alleged that the accused had abducted her in January 2018 and kept her confined and raped her over a period till December 2018.
When she escaped their clutches, she gave a statement to the magistrate which resulted in the arrest of one of them in March this year while the other evaded arrest. Ten days ago the main accused Shubham was released on bail and he started stalking the poor girl. The girl and her family members complained to the police which failed to respond.
She was going to Rae Bareli court in connection with this case when she was caught by the five related to the Pradhan of the village. She named her tormentors as Hari Shankar Trivedi, Ram Kishore Trivedi, Shubham Trivedi, Shivam Trivedi and Umesh Bajpai, all Brahmins and closely related to each other.
Obviously, these people wield some influence in the area and the police dare not act against them.
Remember the Kathua rape case of Jammu where an eight year old child was gangraped by eight men after abducting her and keeping her confined in the family Devasthan, in their desire to vacate the Bakarwal nomads settled on the grazing pastures every year winter months?
The police efficiently worked, caught the accused and charged them with rape and murder of the child and within months the court also indicted six of the seven accused giving them long sentences. But that was a popular government in the state then and the BJP ministers who participated in the protests against the arrests were sacked by the then chief minister Mehbooba Mufti.
But in October this year when everything was suspended and the elected representatives overnight became persona non grata in their homeland, the new regime under Modi dispensation filed cases against the police officers who investigated the rape and murder of Kathua rape victim for allegedly torturing the accused and building a false case.
A Jammu court directed registration of FIR against the then SSP R K Jalla (now retired), ASP Peerzada Naveed, Deputy Superintendents of Police Shwetmbari Sharma and Nissar Hussain, Sub-Inspector Urfan Wani and Kewal Kishore of crime branch of police and asked the SSP (Jammu) to report compliance by next date of hearing. Naturally then which cop dare work with honesty and diligence?
On the other hand, all the kudos are for the likes of C.V. Sajjanar, who as per records seems to have made a habit of encounters, this being the third one. It is for such people that we go back to the most decorated cop of our times, J.F. Ribeiro, who has described this so-called encounter killing as a murder and has even suggested how some of these widely feted encounter specialists have piled up huge amount of wealth through corrupt practices.