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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

SC panel report on action against ‘encounter’ cops may put Telangana govt in a bind

The Justice V S Sirpurkar Commission was set up by the Supreme Court to probe the deaths of the four accused in the rape and murder of a veterinarian at Chattanpally in Shadnagar on the outskirts of Hyderabad on November 27, 2019.

Written by Sreenivas Janyala | Hyderabad |
Updated: May 23, 2022 1:39:37 am
The Telangana government, which was under pressure from people to bring the alleged rapists to instant justice in the rape and murder, did not condemn the alleged encounter killing of the four accused, two of whom are now proven to be minors. (File)

The recommendation by the Justice V S Sirpurkar Commission that murder charges should be filed against the 10 policemen involved in the December 2019 alleged encounter killing of the four accused of the gangrape and murder of a veterinarian on the outskirts of Hyderabad, has put Telangana government in a difficult situation.

“The Commission’s report and the case has been transferred to the Telangana High Court. If the HC upholds the recommendation, the government will be in a tight spot whether to initiate action against them because it may go against public opinion. We will discuss what is to be done,’’ said a minister.

The Justice V S Sirpurkar Commission was set up by the Supreme Court to probe the deaths of the four accused in the rape and murder of a veterinarian at Chattanpally in Shadnagar on the outskirts of Hyderabad on November 27, 2019.

The Telangana government, which was under pressure from people to bring the alleged rapists to instant justice in the rape and murder, did not condemn the alleged encounter killing of the four accused, two of whom are now proven to be minors.

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While the Cyberabad Police was then hailed for the alleged encounter, senior minister Talasani Srinivas Yadav had said that the police action could not have happened without the support of the government.

As the Sirpurkar Commission posed tough questions during its investigation and took to task policemen whose answers were inconsistent, in August last year, the state government transferred IPS officer V C Sajjanar, who was Cyberabad Police Commissioner when the alleged encounter killing happened, to the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation. The Commission, which asked Sajjanar 160 questions, noted that his replies were inconsistent.

The government also allegedly did not push the Special Investigation Team, set up to probe the alleged encounter, to conduct a thorough investigation.

Sources say if the government is forced to act against the policemen allegedly involved in the December 6, 2019, encounter, it may throw open the door for litigation in other encounters cases too.

On April 7, 2015, the Telangana Police shot dead five persons allegedly associated with SIMI and other radical organisations near Pemburti on the Nalgonda-Warangal border, 100 km away from Hyderabad. While questions were raised, police had then said that they fired in self-defence after the accused allegedly attacked the police escort while they were being brought to Hyderabad for a court hearing. Among the dead was Vikaruddin Ahmed, who is accused of killing two policemen, and Mohammed Hanif Khan, a doctor who is accused of sheltering Vikaruddin. Izrar Khan, a Lucknow resident, was also among those killed.

The alleged encounter took place a week after two SIMI activists, Mohammed Eijajuddeen and Mohammed Aslam, shot dead four policemen while trying to escape police checking in Nalgonda district. Civil rights activists had then claimed that the alleged encounter of April 7 was staged by the police as a revenge killing.

On the night of December 12, 2015, Warangal Police shot dead three persons accused of throwing acid on two women engineering students in Warangal on December 10. S Srinivas, an engineering drop-out, and his two friends, B Sanjay and P Hari Krishna, were arrested by Warangal district police a day later. Warangal police claimed they acted in self-defence when the three accused allegedly tried to attack the police with a country-made revolver and knives in a bid to escape.

In this case, too, the Warangal Police was widely hailed by people for the ‘instant justice’ meted out to the three accused. People had celebrated by bursting crackers and distributing sweets.

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