While many welcomed the ‘encounter killing’ of the four accused of Hyderabad vet’s alleged rape and murder by Hyderabad Police in the wee hours of Friday, this has also raised questions, albeit nearly lost in the din and clamour of mob and trigger justice. Will this bring down crimes of rape and brutal killing of women in the State and across the country?
Activists and women’s organizations point out that in the process of hailing the police for the ‘encounter’ death of the four accused, one should not forget that Disha was actually a victim of the police departments’s irresponsibility. Had they ensured proper patrolling and responded immediately to register the complaint when Disha’s family members approached the police, and swung into action, the situation would have been different.
“Today people were showering flowers on the police but had they been responsive and proactive, perhaps Disha would have been alive,” Ms. Shilpa , State Secretary of Chaitanya Mahila Sangham averred.
Knee-jerk and insensitive blink reactions
Recall the responses of Ministers and others who pointed out after in the immediate aftermath of the Disha incident. Had she dialed 100 or shown presence of mind, and walked away from the dangerous situation or used technology, she could have saved herself. Further the kind of victim blaming, and trolling the victim only led to diverting people’s attention from the real lapses in the system and failure of the government in to enforcing existing laws.
Ms. Shilpa, however, clarified that they were not showing sympathy for the four accused’s encounter killing, she said the government should regulate alcohol and drugs in the State. “Youth who consumed these were resorting to sexual violence, and atrocities against women. Encounters and capital punishments are not the solutions,” she pointed. Even after the encounter killing of three accused in Warangal who resorted to acid attack on an engineering student a few years ago, atrocities against women did not stop, the activist pointed out.
According to Sandhya of Progressive Organisation for Women, death for death is not the solution. “How many rape accused would be encountered across the country, and what about the accused with influence and political clout? Would they be also encountered like these accused hailing from poor and downtrodden sections?” she asked.
Without going into the depth of the problems in the society and system, making changes in the laws and enforcing them effectively, encounters would not provide a solution, she said. Women would feel safe only when awareness was generated about the laws and their effective enforcement and instilling fear for law by taking swift action through fast track courts. “Selective encounters of accused from poor families would offer no solution to check crime against women.” Ms. Sandhya asserted
Setting a dangerous trend
While the encounter of the quartet in the Disha case was unfortunate, it would, however, lead to dangerous trends in future, believed Ms. Satyavathi of Bhumika Women’s Collective. “Tomorrow any one could be encountered by branding them as accused without a proper judicial trial. Secondly, this would make the situation more dangerous for women. They would not only be violated, but killed,” she said.
Moroever, police should not usurp the role of the Judiciary and in a progressive society, encounters and mob lynching have no place, Ms. Satyavathi opined. It calls for sustained and continuous process to change mindsets steeped in patriarchal ideology and effective enforcement of laws. “In the Ayesha case in Vijayawada, Satyam Babu was wrongly confined for a long time while the real accused went scot-free,” she recalled.
Some activists said the Disha case found a national response since it happened in an urban area. Several heinous crimes against Dalit and other women in rural and tribal areas in Telangana, Uttar Pradesh were going unabated. What about them? Are they children of a lesser God, or lesser citizens of this country, they questioned.