Since the night of bloodbath in village Bikru, on the outskirts of Kanpur, when 8 policemen fell in a hail of fire by Vikas Dubey and his henchmen, there was widespread speculation that the gangster’s end was near.
Though he escaped that night, it was only a matter of time that he would be apprehended. That happened 8 days later, again on the outskirts of Kanpur, as if in poetic justice, when he was gunned down in an encounter after allegedly attempting to escape. Expectedly, a number of questions arose over the encounter though a section of the populace opined that the criminal had met his true fate.
- A number of questions arose over Vikas Dubey’s encounter though a section of the populace opined that the criminal had met his true fate.
- Why would Dubey plan to escape nearing Kanpur when he himself had offered to be arrested a few hours earlier?
- Dubey was much needed alive. That it did not happen is a severe indictment of the criminal justice system.
- A State cannot be run through 1861 Act policing and an antiquated babudom administering the system through files only.
- The first task in setting things right in any state is to post sincere, honest and fearless DMs and SPs in the districts and give them a free hand with all the resources they need.
Did Vikas Dubey Divulge Too Much?
Only 17 hours before, Dubey had gone for darshan to Mahakal, unarmed and accompanied by two lawyers. Though the MP police went on an overdrive publicizing his arrest, it was actually one of the most known methods of surrender by any gangster.
State of MP has witnessed many dreaded dacoits of the Bundelkhand and Chambal regions, surrendering in style, in a blaze of publicity in the decades of 70s and 80s.
Why then would Dubey plan to escape nearing Kanpur when he himself had offered to be arrested a few hours earlier? Did he have a change of heart? He had surrendered outside the State for a specific reason and that purpose was served. During the journey, he would have been questioned throughout and given out a lot of information. Did that lead to his change of mind or was it that he had divulged too much? These issues can only come out if an independent probe is done into the entire episode from the night of bloodbath to the morning of the encounter.
Vikas Dubey Should Have Lived to Tell the Tale
Dubey was much needed alive. His interrogation would have revealed the deadly mix of politics-babudom-police by naming the actual members. He would have named the traitors within the police who, betrayed their brave brethren on that fateful night when Dubey and his gang hacked eight cops to death. He would have identified the politicians giving him patronage over the years. He would have singled out the revenue officials overlooking and supporting his land grab, hurting the innocent poor.
The entire sordid tale of mafia parading power, dominating the local babus and the police and keeping the villages under his spell, inspiring both fear and admiration – would have come out in the open.
That it did not happen is a severe indictment of the criminal justice system. And a broken system cannot deliver. A State cannot be run through 1861 Act policing and an antiquated babudom administering the system through files only. World over, investigation is prosecution guided but in India there is no connect.
A Broken Justice System Cannot Deliver
In 21st century UP, prosecution is under Collector who has no idea or knowledge of investigation and acquittals. Worse, DMs and SPs quibble over supervising transfer of thanedars. Who will take care of witnesses always turning hostile in mafia cases, delay in court trials – issues which are being raised for last so many decades without any answers.
Besides, first rate results cannot be expected from third rate infrastructure, fourth rate investigation tools and forensics, outdated police training, protocols and moribund prosecution.
How many policemen have even done firing practice in the last few years?
The cynicism of the public emanates from the above state of affairs. Many view the encounter as justice in itself, since there are so many pitfalls on the way of securing justice through the courts.
Yogi Adityanath Must Deliver on His Promise
The State Government can certainly stem the rot. Handling Ministry of Home is a grave responsibility which dedicated effort and focus. It also requires a strong political will.
Ultimately it is only the Chief Minister of the state who can lead from the front and take on this deadly cocktail of politics, babudom and police.
UP CM had in fact promised to smash the Mafia when he took over. A few CMs have done it too in the Hindi belt.
The first task in setting things right in any state is to post sincere, honest and fearless DMs and SPs in the districts and give them a free hand with all the resources they need. UP has plenty of such young and committed officers. Within no time the mafia will be on the run.
Vikas Dubey deserved justice in the form of death sentence from the courts. Encounters do not deliver justice. They only highlight the failure of the system. The massacre of cops and the killing of Dubey in encounter are both grim lessons for us. If institutions are not set right, our democracy will fail the people.
(Yashovardhan Azad is a former IPS officer and Central Information Commissioner. He tweets @yashoazad. This is an opinion piece, and the views expressed are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for them.)
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