BENGALURU: As news of the four accused in the Hyderabad rape-murder case being killed in an encounter flashed across television screens, there was restlessness among a few while a few heaved a huge sigh of relief in Karnataka. Several people rushed to Cyberabad Commissioner Vishwanath S Sajjanar’s family’s house in Hubballi to congratulate his kin for the ‘bold step’ he took. However, this incident has also given rise to a huge debate in society.
A few activists and advocates in Bengaluru called this a ‘knee-jerk reaction’ and said that this would raise questions about the judiciary in itself.
Leah Verghese, a legal researcher, said, “The incident needs to be thoroughly investigated to determine if it is an extrajudicial killing. Let us not forget that the men who were killed were not charged or tried. We have a justice system which provides for trials with various safeguards to determine guilt. Our anger needs to be channelled into holding our leaders accountable for the failing justice system rather than resorting to mob justice. Such knee-jerk reactions will do little to solve the problem of sexual violence.”
Interestingly, Jyothi A, president of National Federation of Indian women (NFIW), Karnataka, said, “The police have resorted to the extrajudicial killing of the accused even before the charges against them were proved, which only suggest that the police have deliberately tried to tamper with crucial evidence in the case.”
EDITORIAL: Extra-judicial killings do not bring justice
However, B T Venkatesh, a senior advocate who was the public prosecutor in a POCSO case in which the accused was acquitted, said, “It is nothing but cold-blooded murder by the police. The questions raised are what was the police doing at the spot at 3 am? How did all four manage to escape? A cleaner knows how to operate a police revolver? This is not the way to handle the case.”
Meanwhile, Pramila Nesargi, a senior advocate who fought for the cause of several women, said, “I welcome the encounter. God knows the way. Law, politicians, police and human rights will not come to the rescue of women. It is a good development. I commend the Telangana police.”
Akshay R A, a software professional, said, “I feel it’s the failure of an entire system.” However, many parents on WhatsApp and Facebook groups commended the Telangana police. “Real justice had been served,” was a common sentiment amongst Twitteratis and women on WhatsApp groups.