Encounter! It is a familiar word for the people of Telangana and more familiar for the people of Warangal district. The word is so familiar that the irate girls in Warangal screamed that the accused who attacked two young girls, Swapnika and Praneeta by acid and greviously injured, be killed in an ‘encounter’.
Instant justice is what the people were demanding. Instant justice because the people think, would act as deterrent. A similar ‘encounter’ in the month of December last year is still fresh in the memory of the people of Warangal and widely talked about those who were afraid that their young ones might be kidnapped for ransom.
People hailed the actions of the police when they killed three persons accused of kidnapping and killing 11 year old Manisha on Dec 26th last year. The kidnapping spree continued till the Warangal police acted and mowed down the kidnappers. To remind you, there was no single case of kidnapping of children reported after the Warangal encounter. Before Warangal, a five year old boy was kidnapped and killed in Tirupati. Another five year old boy from Hyderabad was kidnapped and abandoned in Khammam district.
I am not surprised at the way people reacted when the accused in the ‘acid attack’ case are killed. I am not surprised at the way Varavara Rao and his fellow human rights activists reacted. But one question that remains difficult to be answered is…Who took law into their hands? Police or Criminals?
When Srilakshmi was killed in Vijayawada, the general opinion expressed was that the culprit Manohar was not sentenced ‘appropriately’ and therefore Lakshmi Sujatha, Ayesha and others. The law could not end the kidnaps. The responsibility was on the civil society to react to the crime of the criminals. The civil society failed. The civil society failed to mount pressure on the governments for proper law’s. The civil society failed to sensitize the politicians and the bureaucrats on the need for a law that protects college going girls and un-married women.
It time to act. Its time enact and Act. Enact and Act that does not give scope for the police to take law into their hands. Enact and Act that instills confidence among the police and the girls that the punishment under its provisions will be deterrent. The Act should send chill down the spine of the criminals that punishment under the law is worse than getting killed in an encounter.
Lets act. Lets stop ‘fake encounters’. Lets stop fake encounters that, by default, get sanction from the public. Lets act for an Act. Andhra Pradesh single women (security and protection) Act, 2009. This is not impossible.