The ‘encounter’ killing of the four men accused in the rape and murder of a woman veterinarian in Hyderabad evoked mixed political reactions on Friday, ranging from praise and circumspection in most cases to condemnation in some.
With many political parties being of the view that the
encounter killing may
have drawn some public support, even the strong rivals of the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi such as the BJP and the Congress refrained from criticising the police action, which has drawn condemnation from civil right groups, and left it to individual voices within their organisations to offer a mixture of views.
The Left parties, however, took a strong stand with CPI-M’s Sitaram Yechury asserting that extrajudicial killings cannot be the answer to the serious concerns over the safety of women. The CPI’s D Raja said no one can justify encounters in the name of speedy justice.
“How we must secure the lives and dignity of each of our citizens, must be what civilised societies are about. Justice can never be retribution. Why is the tough law put in place on the safety of women after the 2012 Delhi crime not being implemented properly?” CPI-M general secretary Yechury said.
BJP leaders such as Meenakshi Lekhi and Rajyavardhan Rathore hailed the police action while another party leader Maneka Gandhi slammed the encounter, saying it has set a “horrifying” precedent.
Senior Congress leaders like P Chidambaram and Shashi Tharoor reacted cautiously with the former Union finance minister saying that the incident should be thoroughly enquired into to find out if it was a genuine encounter.
Another Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury noted that a magisterial inquiry is already on and his party will wait for its outcome.
Chidambaram told reporters, “I don’t know the facts of what happened in Hyderabad. As a responsible person all I can say is: it must be thoroughly inquired into to find out if it was a genuine encounter, whether they were trying to flee or it was anything else.”
Tharoor said people should not rush to condemn the encounter until details emerge. He, however, added that extrajudicial killings are otherwise unacceptable in a society of laws.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said it is the anger in people against such incidents that is making them happy about the encounter killings.
“The rape cases that have come to light of late, the entire country is in anger whether it is Unnao or Hyderabad, so people are expressing happiness over the encounter,” he said.
Hailing the encounter, BJP’s Rathore also praised the “leadership” that allowed it.
“I congratulate the Hyderabad police and the leadership that allows the police to act like police. Let all know this is the country where goodwill always prevails over evil. (Disclaimer for holier than thou- police acted swiftly in self defence),” he said.
Lekhi also appeared to approve the encounter as she said in the Lok Sabha that arms are not meant to be a showpiece for police.
However BJP MP Maneka Gandhi was unambiguous in her condemnation of the encounter killing.
“What happened was horrifying for the country. You cannot kill people because you want to. You cannot take law in your hands. They would have been hanged by court anyway. If you’re going to shoot them before due process of law has been followed, then what’s the point of having courts, law and police?” the former Union women and child development minister told reporters.
Samajwadi Party MP Jaya Bachchan, who had recently called for lynching of those accused of such ghastly crimes, said “better late than never” in her reaction to the encounter.