It’s February 5 2020, and Nirbaya’s rapists are still alive. Yet again another verdict will be passed today on this case. The previous verdict was for them to be hanged on the February 1, this year, but it got postponed again. It has been 7 years since that heinous crime, and those rapists are still alive.
From 2012-2020 there were several rapes cases and incidents of sexual assault that had shaken our country. The one that broke our hearts yet again was the rape of a veterinarian, in Hyderabad. The alleged rapists were encountered within a few days of their arrest, the same day ended with the grim news of the death of the rape victim of Unnao, Uttar Pradesh. Was it a day to celebrate or a day to mourn?
Due Process of Law – What does it mean in India?
Due process – is a requirement that legal matters be resolved according to established rules and principles, and that individuals be treated fairly. Due process applies to both civil and criminal matters. This expectation—of due process—outlines the relationship individuals expect to have with their local, state, and federal governments; specifically, that the rights of the individual will not be violated. (Investopedia)
- The Nirbhaya rape case which took place in Delhi, was so horrific that it moved the conscience of the entire nation. Nirbhaya was savagely gang-raped in a moving bus at night, and later she died. Out of the six accused one was a minor and so got away with punishment. Another committed suicide in jail, and four remains. The Nirbhaya case is an example of “justice delayed, justice denied”. Her parents are still waiting for justice for their deceased daughter. This is a case of following due process of law.
- The more recent Unnao rape case, the 23-year-old gang-rape victim, was beaten, stabbed and set ablaze by five men. One of the accused was granted bail in “due process of law” just 5 days before the incident. Yet the girl who had followed the law and while running in a ball of fire, called the police control room. On December 6, 2019, at 11:40 p.m., she succumbed to her injuries. Hours after she was stabbed and set ablaze, she told her brother, “Save me, I don’t want to die.” Her words while lying on her deathbed brought tears to many people’s eyes.
India has failed to protect her daughters.
Encounter Killing and the law
There are two exceptions where killing goes without been noted as an offence:
- “If death is caused in the exercise of the act of private defence.”
- Under Section 46 of the CrPC,(Code of Criminal Procedure) which “authorises the police to use force, extending up to the causing of death, as may be necessary to arrest the person accused of an offence punishable with death or imprisonment for life.”
According to these two laws, the encounter of alleged Hyderabad case rapists was not wrong. The Cyberabad Police had claimed that they had been attacked by two of the four accused.
The police had taken the four alleged rapists to the place to reconstruct the crime, when the unarmed men somehow managed to snatch two guns from their escort of 10 cops, all of whom were armed.
Then they open fire, while other two accused pelted stones and attacked cops with sticks. Police fired back as the accused tried to flee.
So here the death was caused due to the exercise of private defence by the police, which cannot be termed as “offence”.
People are wondering if all this was done in private defence of the policemen or was it just cold-blooded murder.
Is this justice, or is it revenge? Do we really have the right to take another person’s life even if they have done something this excruciatingly horrible?
“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.”
Several people have split decisions about the alleged Hyderabad rapists encounter, as many have felt killing is not the right way to deal with these sensitive issues. Murder does not frighten people anymore– but it does bring some rest to the families who have lost their daughters to men incapable of controlling their minds.
Encounter Cop: V C Sajjanar
In a country where only the accused have human rights, not the victim, it takes guts to do what he did- say many. V C Sajjanar the Cyberabad Police Commissioner took the matter in his own hands and became the hero for many.
Disha’s parents have hailed the cops and even Nirbaya’s mother showers praise to the Telangana police. As people are still waiting for the proper verdict of Nirbhaya, it’s time to wonder if we have, lost basic touch with humanity.
Is it easier to condemn people to death rather than dealing with the fact that there are hundreds of silent victims popping up everyday? Is killing a solution to such heinous crimes? Will our country remain unsafe and insecure for women? Will India keep disappointing its Daughters?