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Murdered by the forces of the law

When the police take matters into their own hands it goes against the Constitution

Murdered by the forces of the law

When the police take matters into their own hands it goes against the Constitution

Murdered by the forces of the law

When the police take matters into their own hands it goes against the Constitution

Murdered by the forces of the law

When the police take matters into their own hands it goes against the Constitution

Encounter killings are not the same as justice. But they have become commonplace, with police acting as judge, jury, and executioner.

When police officers break the law, there is no one to hold them to account. Police brutality and corruption have become part of the system. Most dangerously of all, so have encounter killings – another expression for extrajudicial murder committed by the police.

In many cases, the officers responsible are treated as heroes. When a young woman was raped and murdered in Hyderbad in late 2019, it provoked outrage – rightly so. And when the four men suspected of the crime were shot by the police before coming to trial – allegedly because they tried to steal the officers’ guns and escape – the news was celebrated as justice for the victim. The police, who had previously been criticised for their handling of the case, immediately became heroes.

Another more recent case also made headlines. In July 2020 gangster Vikas Dubey was killed by the police soon after his dramatic surrender. Again, the police involved were praised for their actions. He was certainly a criminal – one who had many connections with the political world, and was considering running for office himself. Was he really killed because he tried to escape? Or was it to silence him, so he would not reveal the shady secrets of his political friends?

Our culture has conditioned us to feel that this is justice. Just think of all the Bollywood films that climax with the police officer - the hero - killing the villain single-handed: Singham, Shoutout at Wadala, Batla House, Dabangg.

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