Video Editor: Purnendu Pritam & Ashutosh Bhardwaj
When people say, "what we women need is immediate justice," "criminals enjoy the loopholes of judiciary" or "repeat the same in the case of the Unnao girl who was burnt by her rapist," we know what they are talking about – the Hyderabad encounter of all the four accused in the rape and murder of a veterinary doctor.
While some are questioning the Hyderabad Police over this, calling it an extra-judicial killing, a mockery of the law, people like Devi Yogha, Shweta Choubey and Rishi Mishra are ordinary people supporting the encounter.
But let’s focus on what they are actually saying. "Women need immediate justice," says Devi Yogha. She’s talking about justice delayed, she is talking about rape survivors who are denied justice for years.
"Give fear to the fellows assaulting a woman," says Shweta Choubey, it is clear that she is talking about how she is not safe where she stays, where she works, where police is rarely seen on patrol deterring criminal element.
"Unnao girl 90% burnt. Punish her rapist the same way", Rishi Mishra is voicing his frustration about how the UP police did nothing to protect the girl from Unnao, who is now battling for her life with 90 percent burns.
Yes, their support of the encounter is misplaced, but not their anger at the police and at our judicial system.
Nirbhaya’s mother Asha Devi also supports the encounter. Why is that? Because for seven years she has waited for justice, she has put her faith in the judiciary, and that faith has almost evaporated.
Let’s look at what some people critical of the encounter are saying:
Humeira Badsha says, "Subverting our already weak legal system is not the answer." She’s right.
Another woman, Shelly Walia asks the police, "Where were they when she was abducted, gang-raped, and set alight? Hold the police accountable for not doing their jobs before congratulating them."
Tell me honestly, some of those supporting the encounter, and some of those opposing the encounter, aren’t they almost sounding the same? Aren’t they actually echoing the same frustration with the shortcomings of the system?
Yes, that’s what it is.
Yeh Jo India Hai Na, where the police fails again and again, where justice fails repeatedly, there such an unfortunate celebration of mob justice does take place.
Was this encounter a response to public pressure or a deliberate short-circuiting of the judicial process?
Here's what fellow citizens are saying.
@Govnor15 says, “Think objectively. Public sentiment can't pass sentence. The encounter was a breach of human rights.”
Others are asking – “How come an encounter specialist, Cyberabad Police Commissioner VC Sajjanar was in charge of this operation?”
We may never know whether these four accused did or didn’t grab police weapons and attempt a suicidal escape, for which they paid with their lives, BUT the fact is that a culture of extra-judicial killings is NOT what this country needs!
Which makes me wonder why Swati Maliwal, who heads the Delhi Commission for Women said, “At least these men will no longer be living off taxpayers’ money.”
I wonder when a Union Minister Babul Supriyo says, “Human rights are for humans, not for cannibals.”
I wonder when a range of people from Mayawati to Baba Ramdev to Anupam Kher, Saina Nehwal and Rajyavardhan Rathore are out there congratulating Telangana Police without qualifying that it would have been better if due process had been followed, without talking about how rarely justice prevails in crimes of violence against women.
Can encounters be the answer to thousands of rape cases pending across India? NO!
The solution requires lakhs of cops to be doing their job. It requires hundreds of courts to deliver justice.
Yeh Jo India hai Na…
After this encounter, has it suddenly become much safer for women? I’m not so sure.