Thursday, 3 November 2016

Close encounters of the Indian kind.

The recent “encounter” of  eight fugitive under trials at Bhopal seems to have galvanised many people to express their solidarity  and support with the action by the Madhya Pradesh police because the persons killed were “terrorists” . I find many people justifying the deaths and the manner they were gunned down . The state government  and particularly the Chief Minister also believes that this was a right approach to handle law and order , particularly alleged terrorists . He has also refused to enquire the matter , because according to him , there is no need of any enquiry. However, the entire episode has thrown many questions which remain unanswered and demands a thorough probe , if not for the reasons of alleged violation of human rights by the police but the safety and security of the citizen and the country.

Before discussing the incident and the glaring incongruities , let us look into how the supporters of the “encounter” are  justifying the apparently extra Judicial elimination of the alleged criminals by the state security apparatus.  The first thing which strikes is the brazen disregard for procedures . As some people have said  - “If the encounter is real then salute to the M.P. police. If it is indeed a fake then double salute to them “. Now this sort of rabid affirmation may look very good for roadside discussions , Whatsapp , twitter and facebook posts and comments  but actually it  shows a psyche of  deep intolerance  with the legal process. And discrimination between human lives. But then , if  people of a country agree to fake encounters , then it is a real problem for the nation, because that reflects a blood thirsty mind which believes in the dictum of  - an eye for an eye. 

Then we have some others who are justifying the killings by pointing to the long drawn  legal process . Well that points out to the failure of the government machinery to provide the country  with adequate number of judges , lack of fast track courts to deal with terrorism and the incompetence of the police administration particularly , to prepare foolproof and watertight charge sheets against the offenders .  It is a combination of governmental apathy and administrative insufficiencies that has  made the legal process a tortuous journey for everybody concerned , other than those who are exploiting the system for their own gains.  We must all have heard the saying – “Justice delayed is justice denied “ . That may sound a cliché in India.  But surely that delay can’t be a ground to bump off alleged criminals . Then there is no difference with a lynch mob or a kangaroo court .  Police is supposed to maintain law and order , not to break them . Even  when it appears to be  the only solution.

Some comments like – “ How long can we serve these terrorists with Biryani  and bear the cost “  have been made . This is a most ridiculous argument because the country has to bear the burden of segregating the delinquent from the general public and let them face their punishment . We can only punish the offenders in the legal manner under the constitutional provisions  and detain them as human beings . If f this sentiment of eliminating prisoners for the reason of cost cutting is  allowed to prevail then that day will not be far off when demands will be raised for killing the old, infirm and disabled persons . Can we afford to do that really.

There are people who have hailed the operation with their approval saying - “Terrorists deserve to be killed in this manner “. Serves them right “ . This is a very dangerous viewpoint because it just trashes the concept of law , justice, rights , ethics , morality , governance, administration , everything. Pointing repeatedly  to the fact that those killed were under trial prisoners do not matter in the face of the passionate outcry of jingoism  because passion also becomes a fashion during  such times of mass hysteria aided by demagoguery of politicians to  inflame and divert the attention of people from the real issues.  And not surprisingly ,for these people everybody who opposes the views and ideology  to which they themselves subscribe is a terrorist .  Muslims , Kashmiris , Naxals , Nagas , Dalits, JNU students , film stars , liberals , seculars ….. the list is endless .

But the most insidious of comments that has been made are by an  Union minister  , that too from the home affairs who is supposed to uphold the law and order of the country . His statement  - “Stop habit of questioning authorities, police as it is not good to raise questions on security forces dealing with terrorists just on the basis of videos, gives the game away and provides us a peep into the fascist mind and the diabolical plot to subvert the whole system .  It may have been the exasperation in dealing with the numerous questions which have prompted the minister to make such a comment  but then questions arise only where doubts exist . And doubts are created by intent of your actions and the content of your operations , dear minister .  Instead of asking people to stop asking questions , you may better examine why questions are being raised on whatever you are doing. And why is there a deep distrust of the actions that your government is resorting to. Why nobody believes you anymore . Not even those who are supporting you . They are riding the bandwagon knowing fully well that whatever you  are doing is hyped , fake and is being done only to win elections . 

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