On the 28th of November 2019, we witnessed another barbaric act. A veterinary doctor from Hyderabad parked her scooter at a certain place and took a taxi from there. Four people who were drinking alcohol were standing nearby and saw this. They planned something evil amongst themselves and thereafter deflated the scooter’s tyre. When the girl came back, they, on the pretext of helping the girl went upto her. She was desperately in need of help and thus, allowed them near her. On coming close, they pushed the girl in the nearby bushes. She shouted, so they poured alcohol over her face to silence her. They also then stripped her and thereafter raped her. The girl started losing blood and fell unconscious in the process while they were at it. Soon when she regained consciousness she was smothered, wrapped in a blanket and transported in a truck 27 kms from the spot, where she was burnt under a bridge.
The ‘Just’ in ‘Justice’: a mirage
The incident immediately caught the attention of the prime time news channels and immediately there was a social outcry in demand of justice for the deceased. People came out on streets demanding justice, politicians started reaping political points. Even the parliament felt the need to discuss the matter.
Owing to the presence of a number of evidences, the four accused were soon arrested by the Telangana Police. On the 6th of December, 2019, the four accused were killed by the police in an encounter, while they were in the police custody. According to the police, an attempt was made to reconstruct the crime scene, when two of the accused snatched police guns and fired at the police while attempting to escape. The police in self defence shot at the four accused, thereby killing them on the spot.
This news of the extra judicial death of the four accused was the water that extinguished the raging fire of anger in the hearts of the people against the heinous offence. The protests died down, the news channels found other news more important and the politicians also realised that this mine was empty now. It seems that the justice that was demanded was given.
Lost in Cause
We’ve seen that the Mathura Rape case, Maya Tyagi Rape case and the Nirbhaya Rape case stand out because they sparked a revolution in the society. The movement started in the aftermath of these cases led to the legal conclusion of bringing about changes in the legislation, but, while we see the benefits of a social movement, do we also realise that the power these movements have gained over time has increased. A simple protest and agitation against the system where at times is helpful in the evolution of the nation, at the same time, the same protest or agitation may also turn towards shortcuts, thereby not leading in evolution but something else all together.
Post the Hyderabad Rape incident, were the protests aimed at extra judicial killing, because, they surely did seem to fade away after the killing. Neither the prime time channels, nor the politicians; no one questioned the extra judicial killing and demanded law to be followed. Instead, everyone in their hearts felt a sense of justice being delivered. In this Hyderabad Rape case, yes, the death of the victim was really painful and it did strike a deep chord in all of us, but, are we really a nation that believes in the supremacy of the law when we feel that extra judicial killing is the justice we demand?