Follow Us:
Tuesday, August 09, 2022

Crime as punishment

Killing of Hyderabad rape accused by police, voices of support for it in political class, point to a brutalisation that must worry all.

By: Editorial |
Updated: December 7, 2019 8:22:23 am
hyderabad case, Hyderabad rape case, hyderabad case news, hyderabad, hyderabad rape case news, hyderabad rape murder case, hyderabad gang rape case, hyderabad rape case accused encounter, hyderabad gang rape case news More politicians have come out in praise of the police action. BJP MP and former minister Rajyavardhan Rathore called it the “victory of good over evil”.

When a call for summary execution goes out from Parliament, a democracy is pushed to the brink of lawlessness. That’s where India stands, after the Telangana police shot down four men accused of raping and murdering a woman in Hyderabad. The brazen choreography of events — the four men, unarmed and in police custody, are taken at midnight to the spot where the veterinarian had been violated and shot dead when they allegedly grabbed the policemen’s firearms — reflects an idea of medieval mob justice that was heard, over and over again, in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, as legislators called for, among other things, the “lynching” of rapists. It was an abdication of their role and responsibility as lawmakers sworn to the Constitution.

More politicians have come out in praise of the police action. BJP MP and former minister Rajyavardhan Rathore called it the “victory of good over evil”. BJP leader Shaina NC termed it “natural justice”. BSP chief Mayawati exhorted other state police departments to take inspiration from the Telangana cops. Samajwadi Party MP Jaya Bachchan, who had called for a lynching, said “better late than never”. Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi, a lawyer, tweeted a high-five emoji, and said that it was time to bow to the “mood and sentiments” of the “people”.

Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan tweeted that “demons of Hyderabad have been punished for their sins… the wicked should be treated in this manner”. Images of people cheering the Hyderabad police or showering them with rose petals might explain the narrow political logic of such statements. But it only underlines that India’s political class is choosing to whip up a toxic primal anger that never lies too far beneath this grossly unequal society. They are choosing to not just cheer, but lead the bloodthirsty mob.

In the name of the people, the call is going out to junk due process and the established norms by which a civilised society decides to affix guilt and punishment, the checks and balances that stand up to the excesses of power. The many lynching incidents in the last few years have already warned how a corrosive search for the “enemy” is leading to brutal violence, whether against “child-lifters” or “cow smugglers”. Moreover, in an iniquitous society, public outrage is easily gamed when those in the dock are the “others” — the poor and the working class. The same political class that cheers vigilantism is noticeably muted when the powerful are the accused.

Subscriber Only Stories
UPSC Key-August 9, 2022: Why you should read ‘Eggs and faith’ or ‘Transge...Premium
Streetwise Kolkata – Beckbagan: Named after an emissary from Awadh ...Premium
As PM Modi again refers to Rajya Sabha ‘hurdle’, some House truthsPremium
Delhi Confidential: Raghav Chadha strikes a lyrical note as he bids farew...Premium

In Hyderabad, now, the question to ask is not just “what if the four men were innocent?” But also, “what if they were not?” Their guilt ought to have been established in the court of law and punished. If the impatience with a long-drawn out legal process is being used to justify police lawlessness, the judiciary must urgently step in to stanch this anti-democratic spiral.

📣 Join our Telegram channel (The Indian Express) for the latest news and updates

For all the latest Opinion News, download Indian Express App.

  • Newsguard
  • The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.
  • Newsguard
First published on: 07-12-2019 at 01:15:22 am
0 Comment(s) *
* The moderation of comments is automated and not cleared manually by

Featured Stories