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Hyderabad 'encounter': Remember? State was 'perpetrator' in Unnao, Kathua rape cases

Counterview Desk
Commenting on the alleged encounter of those accused in the gruesome rape and murder of a young veterinarian in Hyderabad, Kirity Roy, secretary of the civil rights organization based in Serampore, Hoogly, West Bengal, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), has said that women in India “deserve justice and not violent revenge.”
In a statement, Roy says, there is a need to usher in “a society that condemns rape in any form, by a person of any caste, class and designation”, but insists, “If one supports state orchestrated violence in the case of Hyderabad, one must also remember that the state rallied to protect the rape accused in Kathua.”

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To all those who claim that “justice has been served” with the ‘encounter’ of the four accused men in the rape and murder of Priyanka Reddy, we pose the following question: Is blind, violent revenge the new name for justice in India?
Before participating in the valorization of the Hyderabad Police, it is crucial to understand that arbitrary executions do not serve as a deterrent to rape. Incidents in Unnao, Kathua, Chhattisgarh (to name only a few) are evidence of how deeply entrenched the problem is in our society. To address rape, it is never enough to address the perpetrators.
There are several enabling factors to rape, the first and foremost being the criminal justice system in India. Several MPs are lauding the ‘encounter’ by the Hyderabad Police. The politicians sitting in the parliament, the creators of the law, do they accept that their legal mechanisms are incapable of preventing rape?
Is this an admission that their courts, police stations and offices are closed for women? Is this a declaration that justice for women will be grabbed by violent men, armed with weapons, eager to display their masculinity?
And to them, we would like to say that women in India deserve justice and not violent revenge. They deserve a society that condemns rape in any form, by a person of any caste, class and designation. They deserve to be ensured that they are equally entitled to the legal and judicial mechanisms in India.
If one supports state orchestrated violence in the case of Hyderabad, one must also remember that the state rallied to protect the rape accused in Kathua. One must also recall the recent slut shaming of the female students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) by the same men with guns during the student protests in Delhi.
One must also remember that the state was the perpetrator of rape in Unnao (and in several other cases) and the ‘encounter’ that has taken place in Hyderabad cannot be imagined in this case. Even the brave policemen that are being celebrated in Hyderabad today, refused to lodge a FIR of the incident until pressure from the masses and media forced them to do so. As a consequence of this pressure, they hastily arrested the four accused that have now been executed by them.
What the Hyderabad Police has done is in no way different than the protection that cow vigilantes claim to extend to the cow
Without due process, it is impossible to ensure that the four accused who have been killed by the Hyderabad Police were the actual perpetrators of the crime. This act of the police has deprived the victim and her family of the truth. It has deprived the women of the country of the assurance that four rapists do not still continue to roam the streets with full immunity. When violence is responded to by violence, justice is evaded.
What the Hyderabad Police has done is in no way different than the protection that cow vigilantes claim to extend to the cow. It is blind, unjustified violence which is unacceptable within the framework of a democracy. Even if the narrative of the police is true and they in fact did try to escape, why were the shots not fired below the belt? How did the police could not even manage to catch even one of the accused alive?
MASUM condemns this action of the Hyderabad Police and calls for an independent judicial enquiry into the ‘encounter’. We also appeal to the State of Hyderabad to refrain from closing the investigation in the Priyanka Reddy rape case without acquiring evidence that the four people who have been killed were the actual perpetrators of the crime.
All the perpetrators in uniform should be charged as murderer. The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) should take up the case as custodial death. Post mortem examination, all forensic examinations should be done by experts of country’s best people outside of Telengana.

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