Mumbai, The sensational “encounter killings” of four rape and murder accused by Telangana Police early on Friday evoked mixed reactions from the state’s major political parties in the ruling combine and the opposition.
Celebrated criminal lawyer Ujjwal Nikam – who has fought several high-profile rape cases – said while as a common citizen, he felt happy about the encounters, as a legal practitioner, he was concerned that this could “shake public faith in the judicial system”.
“There is a need to strengthen and speed up the legal system to ensure that those charged with heinous crimes like rape are punished expeditiously. Such encounters are like ‘speedy justice’ meted out by the police, but that was also done by Chambal dacoits who became public heroes,” Nikam told the media.
Ruling Shiv Sena senior leader and Deputy Chairperson of Maharashtra Legislative Council Neelam Gorhe said that the encounters have raised questions on the police themselves since the accused were in their custody.
“They should have been made to face a trial and awarded the death sentence.. but not in this manner. There could be something more to the entire episode. I feel there should be a CBI investigation into the whole matter,” Gorhe said.
Ruling alliance partner, Congress legislator Praniti Shinde, daughter of former Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, welcomed the encounters and said that “now the victim’s soul can rest in peace”.
“The file should be treated as closed now. The people have supported the police action totally. The government must now stand behind the police solidly,” Shinde said.
Ruling partner Nationalist Congress Party’s national spokesperson Nawab Malik said that “although justice has been meted out, the manner in which it was done is unjust and raises questions on the entire legal system”.
“If they have undergone a fair trial and then publicly hanged, it would have scared such elements even more. The manner in which justice has been given in this instance is not proper,” he said.
State Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant felt it would have been more apt if the culprits had faced a trial and then hanged.
“Our judicial system is much more capable to give justice to the daughters of our country. I only hope that the Hyderabad encounters were unavoidable,” Sawant commented.
Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party leader Chitra Wagh said as a mother, she fully supported the Hyderabad police.
“If in the past major such heinous rape cases, if similar action had been taken, such incidents would not have recurred. I am fully with the police action in this case,” Wagh said.
Independent Maharashtra MP and actress Navneet Kaur-Rana said the Hyderabad police action was very apt, especially in view of the present atmosphere of insecurity experienced by women all over the country.
“Such an encounter was very necessary. Presently, rape cases are pending for years in courts and the accused lead relaxed lives behind bars. Heinous crimes must be brought before the courts in a month and the verdict should be pronounced within a month to make women feel safe,” Kaur-Rana said.