The four accused in the recent veterinarian's rape and murder case in Hyderabad were killed in an encounter at 3:30am on Friday.
Days after the gory incident in which the 26-year-old veterinarian was burnt to death after being raped triggered outrage, the four accused in the case were killed in an encounter in the wee hours of Friday as they "tried to escape from the crime scene."
As news of the encounter broke, social media was flooded with congratulatory and celebratory tweets praising Telangana Police and state. The hashtag, #JusticeForDisha (Disha being the name given to the victim) started trending on Twitter.
The father of the woman killed felt that 'his daughter's soul would be at peace now.'
Father of the woman veterinarian on all 4 accused killed in police encounter: It has been 10 days to the day my daughter died. I express my gratitude towards the police & govt for this. My daughter's soul must be at peace now. #Telangana pic.twitter.com/aJgUDQO1po— ANI (@ANI) December 6, 2019
But is it really justice? The accused never got a fair trial, in fact, they got no trial. The law states that one is innocent until proven guilty, where was their chance to prove it? Will we ever get to know beyond reasonable doubt that the four men shot dead by Hyderabad police were the real perpetrators, or were they just men picked up to show how fast the crime was solved? All four men belonged to the economically weaker sections of society, where the murder of them wouldn't stir up controversy.
Nevertheless, everyone from politicians to celebrities to gender justice activists celebrated the encounter as justice served.
BJP leader Kapil Mishra said this was the "correct" way to deal with the rapists and hoped other states would take cue from them.
A prominent actor congratulated Telangana Police.
Bravo Telangana Police. My congratulations!— Rishi Kapoor (@chintskap) December 6, 2019
As did some prominent sportspeople who represent India.
सुप्रभात!आज सुबह-सुबह दिल को सुकून पहुंचाने वाली खबर मिली।हैदराबाद में यह एनकाउंटर हमारे कानून के रक्षकों की समाज के राक्षसों पर शानदार विजय है। पुलिस विभाग को कोटि - कोटि नमन। निर्णय का तरीका चाहे जो रहा हो परंतु इसमें लिया गया समय काबिले-तारीफ है।#Encounter #EncounterNight— Yogeshwar Dutt (@DuttYogi) December 6, 2019
A humour page that usually posts film jokes, made a meme.
And there were so, so many more.
कृते प्रतिकृतं कुर्यात् हिंसिते प्रतिहिंसनम्।न तत्र दोषं पश्यामि, शठे शाठ्यं समाचरेत।जो दूसरों के साथ दुर्व्यवहार करते हैं, उनके साथ भी वैसा ही व्यवहार किया जाना चाहिए। मुझे खुशी है कि न्याय जल्दी मिल गया। #JusticeForDisha pic.twitter.com/Xw3lThtqEZ— Shivraj Singh Chouhan (@ChouhanShivraj) December 6, 2019
Finally... The brutes deserved it for the inhuman Horrific crime they committed.We will never get back the innocent Disha again... but the next time someone thinks of rape or murder they will also realise the consequences. #JusticeForDisha #Encounter pic.twitter.com/2Zm7be2q7b— Nikhil Siddhartha (@actor_Nikhil) December 6, 2019
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Thank you, Hyderabad Police. Our hearts ached. Our souls cried. Our voices crumbled. But we kept on trying. I have seen a lot of social media outrage but none of them was as bigger as this one. If something wouldn't have happened, I would have given my hopes up. I'm not saying it happened because of our articles. I'm not saying it happened because of our videos. I'm not saying it happened because of your comments. I'm just saying that it happened and that's all that matters. Justice prevailed. Rip Priyanka Reddy. . Personal Account :- @writer_sahab Please, Follow @thesoulmeltingwords if you're not following already 🌹 #justice #rippriyankareddy
The general consensus appears to be people thinking that "justice is served." But is it?
Or is it staged? While a majority of netizens celebrated the encounter, some pointed out the possibility that the encounter could have been scripted.
Incidentally, V.C. Sajjanar, who is now the commissioner for Cyberabad, was the SP of Warangal district in 2008 when three acid attackers shot in an encounter.— Ashok Upadhyay (@ashoupadhyay) December 6, 2019
After all, the police had only the accused and a set of circumstantial evidence tying the accused to the crime, no eye-witnesses. Everything the police claimed had to be proved in a court of law. But before the accused had a chance to plead their innocence or guilt, they were silenced.
While the legality of the encounter is for courts to decide, some on the internet felt the celebratory response to such violence is troubling.
Rape is an heinous crime. It must be dealt with strictly under the provisions of law. While I hold no brief for the alleged perpetrators of this dastardly act, “encounter” killings are a blot to our system. While I understand the urge for instant justice, this is not the way. https://t.co/BzVkLlSgYW— Karti P Chidambaram (@KartiPC) December 6, 2019
Now nobody will ever know if the four men killed by the police were innocent men, arrested fast to show action. And whether four of the most brutal rapists roam free, to rape and kill more women.#EncounterNight #Encounter https://t.co/LEXxSKWzre— Karuna Nundy (@karunanundy) December 6, 2019
Rape is a really violent crime. But is the appropriate response to violence, more violence? What does it say about us as a society when we're celebrating the gunning down of men instead of condemning the act?
Those defending the police must remember that this is the same police, who told the sister of the victim that 'She must have eloped.' This is the same police, who were criticized by people for putting out an advisory with some truly bizarre pointers to help women prevent their own rape.
The encounter may have ended the 'Hyderabad Horror,' we've named it, and put it out of public spotlight for a bit. But the real 'Hyderabad horror' lies in the fact that the slightest possibility, which still exists, that the rapists could be right now, roaming free, doesn't change.
Would the victim of a violent crime really want the answer to be more violence?
'An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind,' is a quote that is often attributed to Gandhi. But we seem to have moved on from that principle.