The ‘encounter’ killing by Telangana police, of the four accused in the case of rape and murder of a veterinary doctor, has spurred a countrywide debate on the issue of instant ‘execution’ of those accused in rape cases. While the reactions have been mixed, the state high court presided by the Chief Justice will begin hearing in the matter on December 9 and directed the officials to preserve the dead bodies of the four accused till the first day of the hearing.
Meanwhile, National Human Rights Commission officials began their probe into the ‘encounter’ after the Commission has taken suo motu cognisance of the ‘encounter’ on Friday within hours of the killings. State’s counsel informed the high court on Friday that the post-mortem of the four dead was being done at Mahbubnagar Government Hospital and assured that it will be video graphed for evidence.
According to Sajjanar, Cyberabad Police Commissioner, who headed the ‘encounter’, the police were forced to open fire in retaliation on the four accused when they were taken to the site of incidence. Two of the accused snatched weapons from the police and had begun firing. “They continued to fire and attack despite the fact that we asked them to surrender. In the incident, two police officers named Arvind Goud and Venkateshwarulu were seriously injured, including on their heads,” said Sajjanar. While briefing the media about the nature of injuries that the cops received, he said, “There are no bullet wounds on the police officers.”
Also read: Hyderabad: Death Penalty is No Cure for Rape Culture
It should be noted that, Sajjanar was also the head of the police team that had executed three persons in 2008 in an another ‘encounter’ who were accused of attacking a woman with acid. Reportedly, the police gave a similar explanation at that time.
The High Court directions came after it admitted a writ petition filed by a group of women activists and human rights organisations alleging that the encounter killing was extrajudicial in nature. “Endowing police with the sanction to commit murders of accused is no answer. It only distracts and shields the state from accountability. And celebrating such killings amounts to inhumanity,” reads the petition.
Meanwhile, on Saturday, several rallies were held across the state, some celebrating the police action and others demanding similar action in other gang-rape cases pending at different stages of investigation. Groups of people in Jainoor of Asifabad took out a rally demanding “killing” of the three accused in recent Asifabad gangrape and murder case.
According to the latest National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report, as many as 33,658 cases of rape and sexual assault were reported in India in 2017. Furthermore, a total of 46,984 cases of rape are pending in police stations across the country.