'Such encounters should be legalised': Constitutionally-elected lawmakers hail extrajudicial Hyderabad encounter
Photo: ANI

The accused in the Hyderabad rape-murder are dead. They were shot dead in an encounter with the police on Friday.

To recapitulate the timeline of events, the charred body of a young veterinarian was found on November 28 in Hyderabad. She had gone missing a day before. As further details of the crime emerged, it triggered a nation-wide outrage and both the public and lawmakers called for speedy punishment for the perpetrators. More recently, the government had ordered the setting up of a fast-tract court to hasten the trial.

In the early hours of Friday, all four of the accused were killed in an encounter with the police. The four men, all lorry workers, aged between 20 and 24, were arrested on November 29 and remanded to 7 days' judicial custody. The incident took place around 6.30 am when the accused were taken to the site of the offence for reconstruction of the scene of the crime as part of the investigation.

People have hailed the move, with ANI reporting that neighbours of the woman veterinarian, tied rakhi and offered sweets to Police personnel today. Videos of people cheering the police and hailing the incident have also surfaced on the internet.

The encounter killing also set off a chorus of appreciation as well as concern among politicians.

While some, including Jaya Bachchan saw it as speedy justice for the rape victim, others, such as Maneka Gandhi and Shashi Tharoor said extrajudicial killings are a matter of concern.

Reacting to the encounter killings, Samajwadi Party MP Jaya Bachchan said, "Der aaye, durust aaye...der aaye, bohot der aaye..(Better late than never)."

Congress leader and Lok Sabha member Shashi Tharoor said that wile he agreed "in principle", extra judicial killings were not acceptable.

"We need to know more, for instance if the criminals were armed, the police may have been justified in opening fire preemptively. Until details emerge we should not rush to condemn. But extra-judicial killings are otherwise unacceptable in a society of laws," he tweeted.

BJP spokesperson and treasurer of the BJP in Maharashtra, Shaina NC saluted the police for "acting swiftly against the culprits"

"The country needs to protect our daughter's, perpetrators must be given stringent punishments! Justice seems to have been served!" she wrote on Twitter.

Member of Parliament, Rajyavardhan Rathore took to Twitter to "congratulate the Hyderabad Police".

He also had a disclaimer for the "holier-than-thou", stating that the police had acted "swiftly in self defence".

BJP lawmaker Meenakshi Lekhi said that the accused got what they deserved.

"As you sow, so shall you reap," she said.

"All women in the country must be feeling relieved somewhere now, not happy because no death can give happiness but some amount of satisfaction. They (accused) had done wrong deeds and on top of that they were trying to flee from the police custody, so there was no option left for the police. It is just like 'as you sow, so shall you reap'," Lekhi told media here.

Raising a counter-question to the people who are criticising the encounter, Lekhi asked that what would have been their reaction if the accused would have escaped from the police custody.

Former Rajya Sabha member and BJP leader Tarun Vijay suggested that even an encounter death was "too kind".

Taking to Twitter he wrote, "They shud hv faced the judicial proceedings and died mt by mt......begged to die.....sudden death was a mercy they didnt deserve(sic)."

Actor-turned-Trinamool MP Nusrat Jahan tweeted that "Voices have been heard - The guilty do not exist."

BSP chief and former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati also commended Telangana Police and said police in Uttar Pradesh and Delhi can take inspiration from them.

"Police in Uttar Pradesh and also in Delhi should take inspiration from Hyderabad Police, but unfortunately here criminals are treated like state guests, there is jungle raj in Uttar Pradesh right now. Hope the attitude changes for the better. Crimes against women are on the rise in Uttar Pradesh, but the state government is sleeping," she said.

BJP leader Uma Bharti called this the "biggest incident in the 19th year of this century that will guarantee women's safety."

Independent MP Navneet Rana said that she welcomed the news because otherwise "they would be in jail for years".

YSR Congress Party MP Kanumuru Raghurama Krishna Raju told ANI that the accused "deserved to be shot dead".

"God has been kind that they were shot dead, this is a good lesson. They tried to run away and they were killed. No NGO should oppose it and if they do so, they are anti-national," he added.

BJP lawmaker Locket Chatterjee hailed the move as being "a very good step taken for our country".

"I felt really good when I read this news in the morning. The soul of the rape victim must be at peace now. Her family must be at peace. Such encounters should be made legal," Chatterjee told ANI.

"If something of this sort happens then the culprits should be hanged to death or killed in an encounter within seven to fifteen days. I thank Hyderabad Police for the encounter carried today," she added.

RJD leader and former chief minister of Bihar, Rabri Devi, said that the Telangana incident would surely "act as a deterrent against criminals".

"...we welcome this. In Bihar as well, cases of crimes against women are increasing. The state Govt here is lax and doing nothing," she added.

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel said that "justice has been done".

"When a criminal tries to escape, police are left with no other option, it can be said that justice has been done," he told ANI.

Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam said that while the encounter may seem "unlawful", it was the "need of the hour".

"I congratulate Hyderabad police to instill a sense of security in the women of our country. Human rights activists may not agree but a strong messages had to be put out," he wrote on Twitter.

Not everyone joined the chorus of approval.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said, "The rape cases that have come to light of late, people are in anger whether it is Unnao or Hyderabad, so people are expressing happiness over the encounter.

"It is also something to be worried about, the way people have lost their faith in the criminal justice system. Together all the governments will have to take action on how to strengthen criminal justice system."

BJP leader Milind Deora reminded that "Our constitution guarantees every Indian the right to a fair trial."

"Rape victims & their families deserve justice. Govts must do everything in their power to prevent atrocities against women. Courts must administer justice swiftly," he wrote on Twitter.

BJP leader Maneka Gandhi slammed the police for the killing the four accused, saying it set a "horrifying" precedent for the country.

"Jo bhi hua hai bohot bhayanak hua hai is desh ke liye (What happened was horrifying for the country)... You cannot kill people because you want to. You cannot take law in your hands, they (accused) would have been hanged by court anyhow.

"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.

BJP leader Maneka Gandhi slammed the police for the killing the four accused, saying it set a "horrifying" precedent for the country.

"Jo bhi hua hai bohot bhayanak hua hai is desh ke liye (What happened was horrifying for the country)... You cannot kill people because you want to. You cannot take law in your hands, they (accused) would have been hanged by court anyhow.

"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.

Rekha Sharma, National Commission for Women chief, said she was happy the perpetrators were dead, but justice should have been done through proper legal channels.

In the meantime, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) took cognisance of the killing of the four men and ordered an inquiry into the police encounter. The apex human rights body said the encounter early on Friday is a matter of concern.

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