Truth about encounters

There is an excellent piece by Rajesh Kasturirangan at India Together on the truth about encounters. While I agree with him substantially that in practice the line between genuine and fake encounters is often blurred, there is need for laying down certain guidelines which would merit calling an encounter as genuine. Those encounters failing such a test must be labelled as fake, and treated as murder. In my view, therefore, the Parliament attack case merits being called as a genuine encounter, when all terrorists were killed. 26/11 also would fall under this category. This is not to suggest that only televised encounters deserve to be labelled as genuine. The Supreme Court is currently hearing on guidelines for encounters, in the case of People’s Union of Liberties v. State of Maharashtra. The responses of the States and the Centre to some of the proposals by the petitioner in this case merit attention.

For those readers, who would like to know more about this case, my article published in 2009 may be of use. Manoj Mitta has written this piece on July 31.

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  • Are you serious? A "test" for deciding which encounters are fake? Like students who learn how to study to pass a test while learning absolutely nothing, what makes you think rogue policemen will not learn to pass the "test" put up by the Supreme court?

    At any rate, what do you have in mind? "Embedded photographers" who will video the entire proceedings as they happen? Sure; as my father, an ex-employee of the Government of India said, if there's anything our bureaucracy knows how to do, it is to create jobs. Look out for "Section Officer, Embedded Photography Section" and the like.

    There is a serious problem with regard to the police, no doubts about that. But I dislike the "test" idea because it gives the impression of doing something while achieving precisely nothing. My understanding is that there have been quite a few commissions (do we love commissions or what?) on police reforms, none of which have been implemented. (See this article by R. K. Raghavan.) We might start with implementing seriously those proposals; failing that, all this talk of "test" to decide whether an "encounter" is genuine or fake is just pure nonsense.

  • When Veerappan was killed in an encounter ( apparently fake), none raised a finger because all politicos and intellectuals agreed for his killing. Same is the case with bhindranwalle.