A section of IPS officers in Bengal justified the killing of four Hyderabad rape-murder accused on Friday, even as the intelligentsia condemned the police action of taking “law in their hand”.
The Telangana Police said the four rape accused, all aged between 20 and 24 years, were killed while trying to escape when they were taken to recreate the scene of crime near Hyderabad Friday. They said they fired in self-defence when the accused snatched a weapon from them to attack.
They received support from a section of their West Bengal counterparts with many coming out in support on Facebook.
A Superintendent of Police-ranked officer wrote on his Facebook page in support, “Number of jail(s) is lesser than courts. Number of courts is lesser than Police(men). The reason is simple. It was presumed that those who will actually violate law will be lesser than those (who) report. But if the reverse happens, the exception becomes the rule.”
In another post, he asked the intelligentsia, “Dear Intellectuals, What is your problem? If justice symbolises investigation, arrest, inquest, jail, remand, seizure, examination of witnesses, hearing and so on; who is stopping now. This act (encounter) is also not beyond judicial scrutiny. Actual problem lies some where else. A time for introspection for all.”
Another IPS officer said that the incident shows the amount of frustration people have with the criminal justice system.
“Glorification of instant justice system will only lead to further deterioration of the system. I seriously hope this incident should at least spark a reform in (the) criminal justice system,” he said.
Criticising the killing, film director Aparna Sen said this is not an exemplary punishment. “They (Hyderabad rape accused) were just gunned down. Had they been given exemplary punishment according to law, that would have been right. Police should not be given the right to take up law in their hands,” said Sen.
Former Supreme Court Justice Asok Kumar Ganguly agreed, “However heinous a crime somebody may commit, India’s rule of law and constitution say he has the right to fair trial. The right of trial cannot be snatched…”
The former chairman of West Bengal Human Rights Commission added, “I don’t find the police version of the four men trying to flee convincing. It is an indication of something sinister that protectors of the law are taking the law in their own hand.”
The families of some rape victims of the state differed. “I salute the police who have killed those men. I am happy. At least one of the mothers like us got justice. My daughter never returned home. Now after lower court, the case is in (the Calcutta) High Court,” said the mother of a rape and murder victim. Her 20-year-old college-going daughter was allegedly raped and murdered in a North 24 Parganas village on June 7, 2013. On her way back home alone, she was allegedly abducted and taken to an abandoned factory and gangraped. After allegedly raping her, the miscreants tore apart her body up to navel and slit her throat.
The sister of another alleged gangrape victim also said the news has made her happy.
“They (Hyderabad accused) might have not felt the pain of hanging or the horror of the slow wait for the gallows or rotting as lifers. But, they have got the ultimate punishment,” said the sister of an inmate of a women’s home for mentally-ill who was allegedly gangraped in the early hours of November 12 after being abducted. The woman had fled the centre hours before the incident. Two persons, including a minor, have been arrested for the crime.