In an unprecedented development in the Hyderabad rape-murder case of a vet, all four accused were shot dead by Telangana police Friday. The ‘encounter’ is being largely cheered by the public and flower petals were showered on police personnel. The encounter comes after a huge national outcry and demands for death penalty and lynching of the rapists.
ThePrint asks: Hyderabad encounter jubilation: Is faith in due process for rape victims broken?
Crime will not be deterred by these shortcuts. Let us not cheer today because tomorrow can be equally grim
Lawyer and human rights activist
There is a serious problem in India when it comes to violence against women. Answers to this vexed problem of rape have social, political and legal undertones. When we point out loopholes in the system, nobody in the state machinery is interested in fixing them. We find that in many cases, it is the police that are responsible for the lapses.
Taking advantage of the public’s despair, the police has usurped power and the roles of the court. Who are the police to kill people in this manner? The court should have seen whether there is evidence against the accused. Instead of presenting evidence to the court, the police decided that the best way to hijack that accountability is to tell people they will deliver justice because the trials are too long a process.
Everyone supporting this move is in a way telling girls that they will do nothing for them. The indication is that women and young girls will continue to suffer violence and that people will occasionally make a spectacle of some men who don’t come from high-profile rich families
Crime will not be deterred by these shortcuts. Let us not cheer today because tomorrow can be equally grim and horrific.
No one has lost faith but we all know the judicial system is very slow, which troubles victims’ families
Jyoti Pande’s father
I don’t think that rape victims have lost faith in India’s judicial system. The Telangana Police was constantly looking for proof in the case. The accused were taken to the site of crime as part of the investigation but they stole weapons from the police and tried to run away. Maybe, shots were fired too.
How else can one catch the accused if they have run away with weapons? The police officers didn’t have a choice and had to shoot the four accused because the latter had guns.
No one has lost faith in the judicial system. At the same time, I think everyone knows that the system is very slow. We face a lot of problems because of this. If you look at our case (Nirbhaya’s gangrape and murder), it has been seven years and we have not gained anything.
If there has been an encounter, it was solely to deliver justice because the accused had tried to run away.
The police’s actions are justified. The accused could have run away. However, I don’t think that the police should do this in all cases. This step should only be taken in cases where the perpetrators are trying to run away or harm the police in any way.
Hyderabad encounter has lessened my anger, but as an Indian citizen, I am deeply worried
Writing a law into action doesn’t necessarily mean that people will immediately develop faith in it. India’s faith in the criminal justice system has been collapsing and eroding over a period of time.
Just to put it into perspective, NCRB numbers show that 33,658 rape cases have been reported in 2017. So, about 92 cases of rape were reported each day. When we speak about faith in judiciary and due process, there are two dangerous perspectives. First, the mob view or the majoritarian view, which does not believe in the law. Second, dependence on faulty constructs that require urgent reforms. Both perspectives are wrong.
There is a serious need for ground-up reconstruction of the justice system in India. How does a nation balance both the desperate need for justice and need for due process? My anger is less today because of the encounter, but as a citizen, I am deeply worried. We need to revisit our values, which uphold all laws. No citizen wants to live in a society where the weak are hunted down when it becomes dark.
Police action justified. The encounter has provided salve for the wounds of victim’s family
I don’t think the scope of this question can be limited to people’s retention or loss of faith and trust in India’s justice system. The Hyderabad encounter has provided a salve for the wounds of the victim’s family, which would not have healed any time soon.
The traditional judicial proceedings in such a case would have seen similar protocols being followed as other rape cases. So, it would not have given a sense of relief to the aggrieved family members of the victim. So, the quick action that the Telangana Police took Friday morning is praiseworthy because it has put a timely end to this case.
The barbaric nature of the crime demanded that the culprits be treated harshly. I think that every perpetrator deserves an encounter like this. Those four people were criminals and were allegedly trying to run away, which is why the police took this action. Telangana Police was absolutely right in shooting them dead, and their action is completely justified. This encounter has set a precedent for other rape-murder cases. Rapists and murderers deserve this sort of punishment.
Brutality invites more brutality. No coincidence that women’s rights lawyers are against death penalty
Advocate, Supreme Court
I don’t understand why the Telangana Police suddenly felt the need to investigate at 3.30 am. They did not even register an FIR or look for her in the golden hour of evidence when the young vet was still alive.
The Hyderabad encounter has left little scope for people to know whether the four men who were shot dead by the police were actually perpetrators or innocent. If the latter turns out to be true, it’ll mean that the culprits are still out in the open, free to rape and kill more women.
There are people who no longer have faith in the slow justice system and bad prosecution. I think that the government is equally complicit in this. This calls for immediate attention to three things. First, we need to appoint more judges and police officers after rigorously evaluating them. Second, there is a need to strengthen investigation to catch hold of offenders as quickly as possible. Third, we need to make provisions for robust witness protection programmes.
Be aware some of those jubilating are the same macho men who will defend marital rape. It is no coincidence that women’s rights lawyers – who work day and night to prosecute rapists and help strengthen laws – are not in favour of death penalty.
This idea also found mention in the Justice Verma Committee’s recommendations, which refused death penalty for rape crimes because it may actually prove to be counterproductive. Capital punishment in one case might harm another woman.
By Kairvy Grewal, journalist at ThePrint