THE HYDERABAD ENCOUNTERS- JUSTICE SERVED? AT WHAT COST?

Author: Rahul Srinivas

 

We know that the number of rapes keep increasing in the country and we, the citizens are more aware and enraged about it, now more than ever. Thanks to social media. The cycle of women being raped and the guilty getting away with it, while we stood and watched this injustice happen kept repeating until the 6th of this month.

The Hyderabad rape case consisted of a woman veterinarian of age twenty-five, who was brutally gang raped and murdered, and her body burnt. This inhuman act enraged the whole nation. The four suspects in this case were Arif, Jollu Shiva, Jollu Naveen Kumar and Chintakunta Chenna Keshavulu. These four people were arrested to be interrogated. There was no concrete proof that all four had a part in this unspeakable act, and so they were taken for interrogation.

But, on December 6th, the alleged rapists were shot to death by the Hyderabad police. All the four suspects were encountered by the police. The police claimed that the suspects tried to flee and were armed, and hence they had no other option other than to shoot them for self-defense. This does sound a bit far fetched and cinematic.

But the effect these encounters had on our citizens was different. On that day, the citizens who were enraged of the injustice, the families of the victims who were mourning their loss and the millions of helpless souls that prayed for the ones who passed; everyone got an answer. Everyone stood united against the injustice. Everyone felt at peace for a while on knowing the fact that finally, someone did something.

But let us look at the facts for a minute here. These four alleged rapists were after all, alleged. There wasn’t any concrete proof to prove them guilty. And fortunately, or unfortunately, our system says ‘Innocent until proven guilty’. And in front of the eyes of the law, they were not guilty. In front of the eyes of the nation, they were not innocent.

There was a lot of controversy surrounding this encounter. A lot of politicians and celebrities like Akhilesh Yadav and Vivek Anand Oberoi, tweeted supporting the encounter while some stood against it as that is just not how the system works. But our laws allow encounters for self-defense. But is that what actually happened is still a mystery. Shooting and the killing the suspects at the same spot they allegedly killed the victim seems to be a bit much to be a coincidence though.

On one hand, the system does not allow this. But on the other hand, I feel that our system on itself is flawed. It takes a lot of time for concrete proof and to prove that the suspects are guilty. For instance, seven years have passed since the brutal rape and murder of the Delhi medical student Nirbhaya. The four accused are yet to be hanged even after getting the death sentence. A system that takes seven years to hang criminals who are proven guilty, is neither a fast nor an effective system.

Another flaw in our system is that the suspects can not be held in custody for that long as it is really easy to get a bail in our country. And is animals like these get bail this easily, they will continue to do these brutal acts again. So, basically the system would have allowed these suspects into the country to roam free and commit crimes while it should have already punished them for their crimes. The recent UP Unnao rape victim’s situation clearly saw the full extent of this flaw.

The victim was raped by two men, who were granted bail. A few days ago, when she was asked to appear on court for the hearing, she was abducted by five men- the 2 accused, their fathers and another male. They took her to a field, poured kerosene on her and burned her. She called the police and ran for almost a kilo metre by herself, in that condition. She was then admitted and sadly, passed away in the hospital.

Her final words said that she wanted to see those who did this to her be hanged. She died without her last words coming true.

So now you decide. Was the encounter of alleged rapists and going against the system for justice wrong? Or is a system that doesn’t punish the guilty and allows these animals to roam free wrong?

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