Encounter Killing: How Can Leaders Endorse Arbitrary Violence So Publicly?

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Encounter Killing: When it comes to passing tactless comments we can always trust our political leaders to set new benchmarks every day. This time Telangana Labour Minister Malla Reddy has assured that the rape accused in the six-year-old rape and murder case will be “killed in an encounter” once nabbed. How can a public servant who has sworn in to uphold the constitution of the country endorse such arbitrary violence publicly?

On September 9, a six-year-old girl was allegedly raped and murdered her body was discovered in a locked house. Police have revealed that a 30-year-old, who was a neighbour of the deceased, is the prime accused.

While Hyderabad Police has announced a reward of Rs 10 lakh for providing information about the accused who is absconding, around 15 teams have been formed between Maharashtra and Telangana to catch the man. Even though swift action is appreciated why are we so insensitive while talking about sex crimes? Is encounter a procedure sanctioned by the law? Can encounter killing be a deterrent? And how does encounter killings reflect on the state?

Remember the four accused in the rape-and-murder of a 25-year-old woman veterinarian were killed by Hyderabad police in 2019? Even though hailed by many including the deceased family it was not speedy justice. 

Yes, it took seven years in Jyoti Singh’s case for the court to arrive at a judgement. It doesn’t change the fact that encounter killing is a violation of the right to a fair trial that every citizen in this country is entitled to. It is exercising violence by the state, how can anyone look at it as justice? It is sad to see the public support often bordering on jubilations when such comments are passed. More importantly, how can we as a society be comfortable with this archaic kind of justice?

In the last few months, there have been horrific incidences of rape and murder across the country. Deadly sexual assault incidences have enraged people to take to the streets amid a pandemic. However, a civilised society cannot act like a lynch mob. The collective demand of women is to make society safer for all its members, create accountability from the police, judiciary, administration and dignity for women. It is the incompetence of governing bodies if justice has to be achieved in ways such as encounter killing. 

Just in t a few  days after the calls for encounter killings in the state for the accused a dead body found on the Warangal railway track. It has sparked speculations that the accused in aforementioned case in Hyderabad is dead now. The 30-year-old had been on the run ever since the incident came to light. He also has a prize on his head. The link to the accused has been made due to a tattoo on the man’s hand. Mob justice or extrajudicial killings of any person cannot be justified as every person has a right to life and liberty.

The views expressed are the author’s own.

Suggested Reading:

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A Year After Hathras Gangrape And “Forced” Cremation, Where Does The Case Stand?