Through the months of April-May, on ?fake encounter?, there was the customary, mindless media diatribe against Gujarat Chief Minister, Narendra Modi, who takes a no-nonsense stand on security issues. Now that the dust has settled somewhat, the comprehensive view on the subject expressed by Shri Cho S. Ramaswamy, political analyst and Rajya Sabha MP, deserves a calm study. Here it is, rendered into English by Sankara Mahadevan from the relevant editorial of Tamil weekly Thuglak that Cho edits:
Reports about the ?fake encounter? in Gujarat and about the case related to it have gained a lot of prominence. If an accused, a prisoner, a notorious rowdy or a terrorist mounts an attack on police or opens fire at police with a view to escape from captivity, encounter takes place. Under such circumstances, if police resort to firing and the concerned person is killed, it is not condemnable. It is accepted as a step the police takes in self-defence.
If the police guns down a person when he?an accused, a prisoner, a notorious rowdy or a terrorist?does not make any effort to attack the police, then it is fake encounter. It is murder. One Sohrabuddin who had terrorist links and had been indulging in anti-social activities died in encounter two years back in Gujarat. That was not at all an encounter; that was fake encounter; policemen murdered the person. The police murdered his wife who was an eye witness?when all these facts turned into a controversy, Gujarat government admitted in the Supreme Court, ?what has happened was not an encounter; it was murder?.
The SC is yet to deliver its final verdict on a demand that the case be handed over to the CBI. The action of the Gujarat Government might have even been prompted by its worry. It was perhaps worried that a CBI probe might bring to light more information?who knows? After the involvement of personnel of the Rajasthan police and Andhra Pradesh police came to light, Gujarat police tried to arrest them as well. This too is perhaps to avert a CBI probe. Gujarat Chief Minister Modi has always been described as ?Hindu fanatic? by Congress and Communists; the fake encounter affair came in handy for them; murders, that too murders by police; the person killed is a Muslim; the CM is none but Modi! This combination, no wonder, works to the favour of Congressmen and the Communists. It is pure injustice that?an accused or a rowdy, whoever he may be? is murdered by policemen themselves, without bringing him before law. If the police were to have this right, they might kill those who are not to their liking or those who have fallen foul of the rulers or, even innocent persons on the slightest suspicion. So, this ?right to murder? ought not to be available to the police.
When the policemen eliminate, in this manner, those who indulge in cruel offences, should it be termed ?murder?? Or, should it be construed as ?termination by police of a persistent cruelty to society?? Under Law, that too is simply murder. But in the eyes of the society, it is a good deed. What is the way out for this incongruity?
Policemen must to be brought to book, when they go about eliminating innocents or political adversaries of rulers or those whom the police do not like, in encounters in this way. But, when the police kill?in an encounter?those who are a threat to the nation or those who pose serious problems to people or those who have committed serious crimes and those who bully prospective witnesses against themselves, it is left to an adept administration to leave no scope for a probe into whether it is a genuine encounter or a fake encounter. It may sound cruel to say so. But an administration that fails to be cruel to those who deserve to be treated cruelly, will be deemed a flawed one.
Of the encounters that have taken place?or are taking place?in several parts of the country today, how many are the handiwork of policemen? That is, how many of them are fake encounters? If one were to probe this, one would see that all?barring a few?are fake encounters. Therefore, all reports crying hoarse about fake encounters are, in fact, fake reports! Is it not a fraud to selectively term a few as fake when almost all indeed are fake? If no fake encounter at all were to take place, what the people get would be just ?fake protection?.
As the Gujarat police have murdered the wife of Sohrabuddin?an innocent person?as well, their crime must be brought before the Law. So, the activism of the court too is proper; concerned persons must, of course, be punished. Even while saying so, we do not want to hide the fact that our opinion about this ?encounter? would not have been the same, had the police not murdered the innocent woman. This is so because ruthlessness upon a few evil ones is mercy upon the good ones who are many.
(Courtesy: An editorial entitled Fake Encounter? in Thuglak, Tamil Weekly in its issue dated 16-5-2007. This translated version has come from S. Mahadevan.)