Monday, Aug 15, 2022
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Opinion

Fake Encounters: Why Does Public Support Extrajudicial Killings In India?

Not only are fake ‘encounter’ killings by cops rampant across the country, they are wildly cheered by a people who have lost faith in the criminal justice system

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Special Operations Battalion cops during an operation, on July 28, 2020 Photo: Getty Images

The killing of civilians by the police under questionable circumstances—police encounters as they are generally cal­led—happens in several countries. In the US, according to The Economist, police kill about 1,000 people a year. “No other rich country comes close.” The statistics of poorer count­r­ies are worse. In El Salvador, police are 22 tim­es deadlier than the US. In Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), cops killed more people in 2017 than all of Ame­r­ica’s police. In the Philippines, the police had a lice­nse to kill all those involved in drug peddling. In Balochistan (Pakistan), people are killed every day with tacit approval of the state government. In Nigeria, according to a human rights activist, “police brutality is as common as water”.

This is, however, not to say that such police encounters are legitimate or justified. In India, Article 21 of the Constitution clearly says that “no person shall be deprived of his life or perso­nal liberty except according to procedure established by law”. India is also a party to the Int­e­rnational Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, whose Article 6 states that “every human being has the inherent right to life, and this right shall be protected by law”.

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