On the morning of December 6, 2019, the Hyderabad police gunned down four rape accused who were being held for gang-rape and mercilessly murdering a veterinarian. The police said that they were forced to shoot the accused in an act of self-defence when the accused snatched their weapons, tried to fire upon the police and escape while the crime scene was being re-constructed.
The country now stands divided on whether the actions of the police were unwarranted and if there was a better way of handling the situation. While it stands to be decided whether the police action was right or wrong, I am of the opinion that only those involved on-ground would know the best way to address a sensitive matter at a critical time.
More importantly, as a victim of sexual harassment and criminal intimidation myself, I was once caught-up in the process of seeking justice the legal way. And I came to the conclusion that while law takes its own course, the victim is left with no choice but to suffer a slow and excruciating walk down justice lane.
Victims and their families spend a million moments in anguish, yet are still hopeful that they will some day get a semblance of justice, but by the time that happens and they look themselves in the mirror, chances are their hair would've greyed and their skin would've wrinkled.
Like Nirbhaya's mother stated after the Hyderabad encounter, that she was 'happy the men were shot so that the parents of the Hyderabad doctor were saved the grief of having to be embroiled in an arduous legal battle and yet not get speedy justice'.
It must've taken the encounter specialists some patience to even spend any time in the company of those four demonic rapists, and greater gumption to gun them down knowing fully well how it might be misconstrued or knowing fully well that they would be held accountable for taking law into their hands. Whatever the order of events and whatever the truth maybe, I am completely relieved by the final outcome.
Human rights activists may revolt that those shot down might've been innocent and the real criminals might be lurking around waiting to commit the next heinous crime. Possible. In that case, these 'casualties of war' should set an example for the real criminals. In that case, being shot dead is a great sacrifice by the accused.
But the key to these doubts lies in the victim's last phone call to her sister, where she clearly expresses fear on account of the four men. And, surely, CCTV camera footage from the toll booth might serve as proof along with the confessions of the accused.
Just as human rights activists might give the accused the benefit of the doubt, they must also take into consideration the interests of the victim who would otherwise have to suffer a long and trying journey in the corridors of courts before they get justice. In the same measure as 'justice delayed is justice denied', I believe that 'justice expedited is justice done at the right time'.
It is a matter of great relief that the Hyderabad police have inadvertently delivered closure to the kin of deceased rape-victim. However, it would be a matter of even more pride if police around the country acted with the same judiciousness in cases where the accused are wealthy or are from a high-profile background.
Justice, whichever way it was served was served at the right time!
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The views expressed here are from a personal perspective and do not seek to hurt any sentiments.