Collective murder instincts !

hyderabad rapeencounter1

We have, in India, several collective ego issues when something questions the majoritarianist hegemony. We have this problem when Article 370 was abrogated which is done mainly on account of the fact that majoritarianist mindset do not accept muslim dominated Kashmir should have some special privileges, even, at least, on paper. Typically, Nirbhaya case is one such movement with larger than imagined uproar while the history forgets Phulan Devi was raped by 100 men and , every year, there are hundreds of Dalit women get molested in heinous way, of which some come to light and some do not even deserve a mention in any of the public talks.

The four rapists of of a veterinary doctor in Hyderabad have been shot dead in a reported encounter while they try to flee from the spot. NHRC immediately considered it as a serious concern saying “ Death of four persons in alleged encounter with the police personnel when they were in their  custody , is a matter of concern for the commission “ and ordered its investigative division to immediately probe into it.

The doctor’s gang rape is not close  to anything pardonable. It is a simple and straight beastly domination of male supremacy. The scene is close to what happened in case of Nirbhaya too. The brutal murder of the victim is definitely no less than tear-flowing story. What is the prime concern in entire episode of the doctor’s rape ? We are supposed to sound alert in protecting our women in India and every place needs to be quarantined against any such atrocities and there is no scope to vacate women from any of the public places for any reason. Does encounter work towards this ?

Let us consider this as a matter of vengeance which has a sincere anger behind this. Firstly, whose vengeance is this ? The victim family’s vengeance ? The family is no way part of Police or any Government political positions. That eliminates the prime ownership of vengeance. Let us consider – this is vengeance of society as a whole. In such case, which society is considering the vengeance and why ? Considering so, we need to believe that there is a firm ground for entire Indian society owning and accepting such abominable reduction in society due to the misdeeds of its youth wand working towards rectifying the same. This gives rise to the society uniformly accepting every rape as a heinous act with uniform intensity and preempt such ‘encounter culture ‘ to eliminate rapists.

Let us understand this ‘vengeance’ of society. Every day, in India, atleast 5 dalit women are being raped and/or murdered. In the second week of  November 2019, 30 year old Dalit woman was gang raped by four men in Shamili District, UP. In September 2019, two dalit women were raped by six men in Ghamurwali, Rajasthan. In Ma 2019, a 23- year old Dalit girl was raped by two men in Muzaffarnagar. These are all incidents which came to light and attracted a ineffectual attention in media. During the same time as the doctor’s gang rape and murder, 19 year old Dalit girl was gang raped and murdered in Warangal, 150 Km away from Hyderabad. We failed to see any similar uproar or any similar ‘vengeance’ in all these cases.

As Ambedkar mentioned , there is no ‘collective’ identity in India. ‘ Your anger is not mine and my anger is not yours ‘ is the underlying stream of culture what we have in this society. The skewed response to various classes of victims classify our anger as not only idiosyncratic but also erratic and hypocritic. We can never forget that this society pardoned 100 Thakur men who raped a Dalit woman – Phoolan Devi.

The vengeance has very varied colours. The victim should be typically from urban background, should be of middle class, fair skinned and educated . These sort of demographics of victims typically  send shivers of anger to the public. This makes them identify quickly with the victim. For these demographics, obviously, no one will ever find a woman from marginal castes who deserve this highest urge for ‘ tit for tat ‘ approach.

Having said that Indian public has various colours of so called collective vengeance, the encounter is viewed as a heroic act of ‘ vadha’ like Krishna killing ‘Kamsa’ for the unbearable atrocities.

It is apt here to look at the profiles of the criminals. They are two lorry drivers and their friends. All of their parents do menial jobs and earn their livelihood. It is noteworthy to observe that the parents of these criminals clearly disowned them and advocated to hang them for their heinous crime in their honest sacrifice for this society. These criminals were caught within 24 hours of registering the case. That is the plight of the safe guards they have around them to protect themselves.

If one notices, We have even more heinous criminals not caught till date. Some escape the country and some stay within the country. What is the big deal in hunting four young people, caught within 24 hours by police, with such feeble social background is something we need to seriously ponder. Does that really invoke a heroic image in the brains of Indian public ? State is mammoth and the size is unimaginably gigantic. Telangana State successfully curbed the strike by thousands of workers of Road Transportation Corporation creating all vulnerabilities around them. Imagining killing of four young people carrying a muted social linkages is not a big deal. What we ignore is – It is the same Police who said “ your daughter must have got eloped with someone “, when Disha’s parents reached them fr help, encountered these rapists.

When we applaud an encounter what we typically accept is – we cannot live with this sort of constitution any more. We also accept that this law of the land and constitution cannot guarantee our lives any more and we deserve a systematic violation of constitution. However, in case lynching happens, India believes that the same law needs to be tested on the perpetrators to understand what is justice. The case of ‘Disha’ or ‘Nirbhaya’ campaigning for encounters does not have a sincere anger underlying this. It only showcases the majoritarianist audacity to keep people ‘ under control’. The violence has no two faces like – heroic violence and villainous violence, in social life. Violence is the grammar of anarchy as aptly marked by Babasaheb Ambedkar , who uttered that he would be the first person to burn the constitution if it is misused, which happened in the extant case. Accepting encounters gives rise to accepting our collective weakness of believing in our own constitution. The violence, especially state violence, is only letting everyone of us know that it is clueless of the problems its people has. The encounter typically reveals that the State does not want to provide you certain distinguishably sustainable solutions. The ramification of such culture is only that advocating a systematic and designed violence of the State for the welfare of people which was tested and failed in 1800s itself. Under any imagination, we have no clue that who cross-verified that these four men are the culpable of the crime. Under no circumstances, any state cannot encourage mob justice for any crime. The tail is very long for such culture. We are now forced to believe that put the entire burden of crime and totality of reason for crime lies with individuals alone and nothing else, as if all these are isolated one-off incidents in the country.   Craving for instant justice is actually not only  flawful but it is also insincere in its approach. The merit we have built over a period of time let us believe that there will not be any more rapes in this country as everyone now fears that there will be encounters if the offence is carried further. We formed Governments because we want someone to react intelligently irrespective of our individual instinctive reactions. However, we see the opposite happening here. Further,  the celebration of this sensationalist killings is putting the entire mindset of India into a sick category.

–       P Victor Vijay Kumar An investment banker and writer cum critic




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