From the killing of three men accused of an acid attack on women to the gunning down of a former Naxalite to the killing of four men accused of rape and murder of a veterinarian, police followed the same standard operating procedure (SOP) and proferred the same explanation of how they were attacked by the accused and had to fire in self-defence. And the officer who headed these three police teams was the same: V C Sajjanar.
A 1996 batch IPS officer, Sajjanar was Warangal Superintendent of Police in December 2008 when three youths on a motorcycle hurled acid on two women, both engineering students, while they were heading home on a two-wheeler. The incident led to an uproar with people taking to the streets, demanding justice.
Police impunity and courts
SEVERAL people from across the social and political spectrum have applauded a killing in custody. This may underscore public anger but how courts react will decide key questions regarding police impunity.
A day after they were arrested, the three suspects were dead, shot by police at night in the Mamunur forest, 30 km from Warangal. Police said they had taken the trio to the forest area to retrieve evidences — acid stocks and the motorcycle used in the attack on the women.
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One of the three, Sajjanar told reporters later, had whipped out a country-made weapon and tried to open fire. Acid was also thrown on the policemen, forcing them to fire in self-defence. The accused had not been handcuffed and no explanation was given on how one of them managed to get hold of a firearm.
In August 2016, a Greyhounds team under Sajjanar — it’s the elite anti-Naxal operations unit — shot dead former Naxalite Mohammed Nayeemuddin on the outskirts of Hyderabad. Police said he tried to attack them and flee when they went to arrest him.
The operation to detect Nayeemuddin’s presence in Shadnagar was led by then intelligence chief B Shivdhar Reddy. Nayeemuddin, police said, had used an AK-47 to fire at the police team from inside his Jeep.
Before being posted as Cyberabad police commissioner, Sajjanar was IG, Special Intelligence Branch. During his stint there, he was credited with the arrest and surrender of several top Naxalites and encounters with them.
On Friday, Sajjanar told reporters that the four accused of the rape and murder of the veterinary doctor were taken to the spot outside Hyderabad in the early hours to retrieve her mobile phone, wristwatch and power bank. He said they were not handcuffed “as they were asked to search for the belongings of the veterinary doctor which they claimed they had hidden there”. He said they attacked the police team and snatched their weapons, forcing them to open fire.
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