Like the rape and murder of the vet in Hyderabad shook the nation, so is an alleged encounter rocking the country. All the four rape accused of the vet, while being taken to the spot of crime, reportedly tried to snatch the firearms from the cops, while trying to flee and were killed. A magistral enquiry has been ordered over the encounter,
The social networks erupted immediately, many relieved and thankful to the Telangana Police Force and a few criticizing or lamenting that the country was becoming medieval under the present government (read Modi!) The seesaw was between morality and legality! Surely the encounter had all the usual misgivings of being a staged one, but the mood of the police needs to be valued too. The tardy justice system, in which the gruesome Nirbhaya’s rapists-cum-killers could not be hanged till date after seven years of the crime explains the kindness accorded by our legal system to hardened criminals. In Unnao they not only raped but hung the girl on a tree, justice for the perpetrators of the crime still pending, since 2017.
There are political leaders like Sengar and Chinmayananda, protected by the ruling clique who seemingly are unassailable. The failure to send the rapists of Nirbhaya could have emboldened others, and the spate of crimes continue. The rapes must end. Every woman, daughter and sister and mother must walk without a lurking fear of being assaulted.
Coming to the encounter part, one must analyze the mind of the police. The police might arrest, file a charge-sheet and provide the accused to the prosecutors. Agonizing years pass, from lengthy trial courts to the High Courts and if moneyed, to the Supreme Court. Review applications follow. Then comes the prayer for clemency and if rejected, for reduction of sentences. The criminal can be out on bail during the trial, and like in a recent case, where he burnt the rape victim who is battling for her life with 90% burns.
If proved that the police had staged an encounter, the law would deal with it as a cold-blooded, premeditated murder and the cops know the consequences of the same.
Punishment in jail is no deterrent, as the number of rapes has not decreased. The society is limited to holding candle vigils and silent processions. What is deterrence then? Can we become a barbaric society like Saudi Arabia, decapitating criminals at a public square, under full public view? Can we resort to lynching? No! The judiciary should exclusively hold the fastest track courts and sentence the culprits.
One person, an NRI, commented over the encounter that it’s a shame for India, which did rattle me. Such rantings sitting in a faraway country are perverted. To him and others who feel ashamed about the encounter, my advice would be, please surrender you Indian Identities and obtain a Chinese, Saudi or a Pakistani one, if that enhances your sense of pride! India is worried and divided right now between the urgency to stop rapes and at the same breath to speedily dispose cases of crimes lawfully. The encounter does not make India like ISIS!
Deterrence is more critical as prevention of crime, and the harshness of the sentence has an indisputable bearing with the discouraging and prevention of crimes.