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HomeOpinionNewsmaker of the WeekHow 'Hyderabad encounter' helped Cyberabad police go from flak to flowers in...

How ‘Hyderabad encounter’ helped Cyberabad police go from flak to flowers in 7 days

It took one week's time, arrest of suspects in 2 days and, finally, the 'Hyderabad encounter' for Cyberabad police to lose its image of apathy.

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Last Friday, police in Cyberabad found itself at the centre of public outrage after a veterinarian was raped and murdered in its jurisdiction. But this Friday, it was being showered with praise and flowers. Within one week, four suspects had been arrested for the crime, three policemen suspended and, finally, the accused killed in an “encounter” triggered by an alleged escape bid. The one week was all it took for Cyberabad police to repair its public image from one of apathy to that of “exemplary police action”. This is why the “Hyderabad encounter” is ThePrint’s Newsmaker of the Week.

Although Twitterati, particularly those outside the twin Telugu states, have used the hashtag #HyderabadPolice in discussions about the encounter, it is Cyberabad police that actually tackled the case.

Cyberabad roughly refers to the area in Hyderabad where the IT hub and the financial district are concentrated, in the south-west region of the city. As the IT hub and surrounding residential areas started expanding in 2003, a separate police commissionerate was formed by then chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu.

Cyberabad police oversees an area of 3,600 sq km with the help of 36 police stations. It is in Shamshabad, one of its three zones that is largely mofussil but also houses the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA), where the heinous crime took place on the night of 27 November.

Also read: Another culprit must share the blame for Hyderabad encounter – Indian media

Why Cyberabad police faced brickbats

As the gory details of the veterinarian’s rape and murder played out on TV screens across the country, it emerged that personnel at the RGIA police station did not initially accept her family’s complaint the night she went missing, after she had made a call to her sister at 9.22 pm and expressed fears for her safety.

The complaint was finally accepted the next morning, at another police station in Shamshabad.

Adding to the public fury was Telangana Home Minister Md Mahmood Ali’s indifferent comment that the veterinarian should have dialed 100 instead of calling her sister.

Also read: How Naxals helped Telangana and Andhra police master ‘encounters’

Sajjanar’s leadership

In the aftermath of Friday’s encounter, Cyberabad Police Commissioner V.C. Sajjanar was hailed as “Singham” and “Saaho”, with social media users invoking movie parallels to celebrate the encounter as well as the policeman.

It was on Sajjanar’s watch in 2008 that three suspects in an acid attack in Warangal, also in Telangana, were killed in an encounter similar to the one that took place Friday.

Sajjanar is a 1996-batch IPS officer from Karnataka who is known to be an expert in anti-Maoist operations.

As the Cyberabad Police Commissioner, it was Sajjanar who faced much of the public wrath in the wake of the crime.

Sajjanar subsequently pressed 10 teams into action. With the help of statements from witnesses, CCTV footage and other evidence, police were finally able to nab four suspects, identified as Mohammed Arif, Jollu Shiva, Jollu Naveen and C. Chennakesavulu, on 29 November. They were all in their twenties and hailed from Maktal in south Telangana.

The four were remanded in 10 days’ judicial custody from 30 November. With droves of protesters thronging the Shadnagar police station, police had a difficult time shifting them to Cherlapally jail. The four were remanded in police custody for interrogation from 3 December.

Three police personnel — sub-inspector M. Ravi Kumar and two head constables Venu Gopal Reddy and A Sathyanarayana of the RGIA police station — were suspended based on an inquiry that found them guilty of “dereliction of duty” on the night of the crime.

The encounter, Sajjanar told the media Friday, took place when the suspects were brought to the site of the crime to track the victim’s missing mobile phone and other belongings.

“They suddenly started attacking us with stones, sticks. Two of them — Arif and Chennakeshavulu — snatched two weapons and started firing at us. We warned them to surrender but the criminals did not heed, forcing us to open fire,” he said. “They were found dead with bullet injuries. Two of our men suffered grievous injuries and are in hospital.”

“We are probing other missing cases again as we suspect that these accused were involved in such crimes in the past too,” the commissioner added.

In the end, it is fair to say that Cyberabad police wouldn’t have had to face all the public outcry if it had fulfilled its duties right from the time the case first came to it.

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  1. When it is legally bound duties, you find them wanting, when illegal things are done,(if any ) they get applause. Irony of life.

    The extra judicial murders were normalised in Gujarat, where mass rapes were conducted with the connivance of the state government – with children being thrown into the fire and thousands being murdered by henchmen of a political party. The police participated in these riots – a state minister was posted in the Ahmedabad police control room to oversee the pogrom.
    Uttar Pardesh is ruled by a Godman, who gave instructions to the police that the citizens of a certain community could be labelled as criminals and murdered – there has been over 580 such encounters in the year 2018 alone. Extra judicial killings are normalised and become commonplace.
    A home minister when he was a politician in Gujarat, ordered a police force to bring citizens on to the roads early in the morning and murder them, the judge investigating this politician died in mysterious circumstances.
    In Bhopal prisoners under trail, who were young Muslim students accused of terrorism, were allowed to escape and then murdered by the police, this extra judicial killing was videotaped and distributed while the Indian population cheered.
    Now politicians can use the police to murder anyone, civilians can do so too, if they have enough money to bribe a police officer who is an encounter specialist.
    Why go to the inefficient law courts, just hire the police it quicker and cheaper then costly litigation.
    Just as it broke down in Germany in the 1930s just before Hitler took absolute power.

    • You termites were given a chance to go to your own country Pakistan.
      Why are you still here.
      Learn to live peacefully, we will not tolerate any Jehadis in our country.
      Be grateful that we are not paying you back for Aurangzeb

    • I am seventy years old and remember the past, what you say is true.
      Julio Roberio the former head of the Maharashtra police writes about these encounter specialists in the police. Inspectors who own assets beyond their means. Who later become politicians, people have lost faith in the courts to deliver justice

  3. One wishes the NHRC had not jumped in so quickly. It might wish to send its teams to Unnao, to figure out why it is becoming the epicentre of violence against women. 2. Sengar’s victim, a Dalit girl, a minor at the time of the offence, was put through every possible trauma for a year, losing her father in the process, before the law began to care for her. If the NHRC would open its eyes, it would fiend a lot that shocks the national conscience. 3. The debate on the rights and wrongs of Hyderabad will rage on. I cannot bring myself to mourn the four men who were killed.

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