The four men were in judicial custody and, therefore, unarmed. The police claim they “snatched weapons” from the police and fired on them, so they died in retaliatory firing. Let’s be clear here: This is the police, claiming a series of coincidental events that led to them killing four people accused of a horrifying crime. They were killed by the police, in custody.
Six days ago, Deccan Chronicle reported that the police and government were discussing “something more than arrest” which, as the newspaper suggested, “would calm public anger”. Such dreams have clearly come to pass. Amazingly, or not, the Hyderabad police is being praised on all fronts for its fortitude in delivering justice to the victim’s family.
Journalists led the pack. TV news channels showed visuals of women distributing sweets in Hyderabad and cheering the police officials who were involved in the shootout. Some rushed to the 26-year-old victim’s house to get reactions from her parents. Others interviewed Nirbhaya rape victim Jyoti Singh’s mother in Delhi.
Zee News quoted yoga teacher and businessman Ramdev who stated that such cases deserve “on the spot” justice and that a court proceeding is only necessary when there are doubts about the culpability of the accused. For about a week now, a section of the media like Republic TV has run campaigns demanding death for the rapists. Some like Times Now went so far as to normalise the idea of mob violence. These debates featured charged panellists who demanded hanging at public squares.
Is it that difficult to “think rationally” and worry about human rights, whether it’s for a criminal or not? Where does “strong message” end? The argument is oh well, the justice system broke down, but they’ve been punished. So all’s well that ends well.
Then followed a slew of support from top brass and political leaders.
Rekha Sharma, chairperson of the National Commission for Women, said “police is the best judge”.
Former chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, said he’s glad justice has been served.
Bahujan Samaj Party leader Mayawati said people should take “inspiration” from the Hyderabad police.
The former DGP of Jammu & Kashmir congratulated the Telangana police.
And everyone’s favourite actor said “Jai Ho”.
The message driven down is the rapists are dead, so this is a time of celebration. The general feeling is “they did something bad, something bad happened to them”. Except that the “something bad” is the police, literally tasked with maintaining law and order in society, seems to have stepped beyond its breach to deliver some form of justice.
So, we’ve got to a point where we’re celebrating people who didn’t pontificate on the greatness of the deaths of the accused.