From the societal point of view anything as bizarre as the other can neither bring nor ensure order. And any disregard to this fact can only let one blunder after the other to occur and unfold. So much so that together these may well create a world of horrors.
This has been exactly the case with recurring and ever deadly police encounters. These have resulted in the deaths of so many allegedly hardened criminals all over the country and yet, strangely, the crime scene has only been getting from bad to worse.
Many encounter deaths have taken place before this (December 6) morning’s shocking incident at Hyderabad where four men alleged to have raped and killed a 27-year-old innocent veterinary doctor a few days ago were done to death by police.
Hyderabad’s police story is that the foursome taken to the spot of their crime early in the morning tried to clash and snatch arms so as to possibly run away. This claim makes the police all the more answerable about how the four unarmed men could possibly think of getting away from amid well, armed policemen. And why they were not put in fetters to rule out the possibility of their escape? Police obviously have taken to peddle so unbelievable a story simply because today’s leaders, media and through them the wider public is prone to frenzy where revenge is thought to be as good as justice.
Scenes of jubilation that followed near the site of the encounter to hail the policemen who virtually meted out summary justice to the four suspects may vindicate the new methods of conclusively working out an otherwise vexed case. Yet, the question is whether police work alone or have to go by the brief that police bosses get from the higher political executive either via bureaucracy or directly. The public show held to honour the police after the encounter points to the political backing that the slaying of the four accused could well have. And as for the claims of the police about two of their men getting injured in the encounter only an inquiry can establish whether they were hurt by the suspects or because of the pell-mell that the police action could have wittingly or wittingly created.
Anyway, crime is generally supposed to hurt society. But now it somehow only hurts selectively. Political and sectarian preferences are so profoundly determining anguish and outrage over unseemly incidents and crime that unbiased policing to control them has become only a remote possibility. Yet, the criminal justice system has been evolved at a universal basis where police can never be or made to be the final arbiter despite manning not only the gateways of the system but also having unavoidable say through better part of its process. This starts with police that is expected to take cognizance of an incident of crime but has to put the case before court for adjudication through trial and if the case moved by the police on behalf of the State is upheld in the court, the task of ensuring punishment as per the sentence passed by the court falls in the purview of jail.
Fatal encounters, whether true or fake, invariably and irrevocably cut short the process laid down under the criminal justice system though it has been designed with the intent to play a corrective role to save the society from the scourage of crime and criminals. Short circuiting it through pulling the trigger can well make it to look a miraculously easy way to meet the ends of justice howsoever misplaced, but it cannot go beyond being selective since all the suspects cannot be done away with via encounters. So the discriminatory nature of encounter is more of a risk than cure or correction of the errant in a society grappling with growing rate of crime.
Among other things encounters also bring an abrupt end to the punishment of the accused. And this is often before his guilt is proved. So the possibility of correction through punishment in case of the accused on being convicted and sentenced and the lesson this could serve to other potential offenders is also nipped in the bud.