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The Business Of Encounter Killing

By Sorit Gupto

23 February,2006

Encounter killing is again a hot topic nowadays but with a little difference. This time it is for the suspension of a sub inspector from Mumbai, Daya nayak, who is better known as a Encounter specialist.

Encounters or extra judicial killings are not a new phenomena for Indian state, though it has changed its position or acceptability in the public psyche for past few years. Thanks goes largely to the Mumbai film industry for making several films 'inspired' by the real life of an encounter specialist. After the box office success of such films, one can say that the act of extra judicial killing , which otherwise is a gross violation of the Justice system, the very aspect of our Constitution( by denying the fundamental right to live), the civil liberties and the human rights, now got legitimacy in the Indian society.

The 'Rise and Fall' of this Sub inspector is nothing but story of complete violation of the very rule of law , which the police department is supposed to enforce.

We are catered with the biographical sketch of this encounter specialist by different news channels , about how from a humble beginning as a boy in a tea stall he becomes the heroic face of the state police department . According to an unconfirmed 'estimate' he has gunned down some 80-90 persons till date.

However the most strange thing about the whole saga is the fact that, every one is bothering about his crime of earning the huge amount of wealth , disproportionate to his known source of income, but no one is giving a damn to his murderous record which is much more disturbing vis-a-vis to his known source of power to do so. Now it is not just a known fact but established fact also that what ever he did in his tenure ,he had actually killed people without having any right ,like many other famous or yet to famous 'Encounter Specialists' are doing .Now, they keep on doing because they are doing the same under the full protection and patronage of the state. It is a chilling fact for any civilized society but as far as we are concern , we simply habituated and grasped it.

Be it Ansal Plaza Shoot out in New Delhi , Or Killing of four person in the outskirts of Ahmedabd , more or less after every encounter, the story or the logic provided by the state to the people, is too innocent to compared only with the Aesop's fables , that there was a bad man who fired at the police, and police in retaliation fired back to him and he died on the spot. Simple. Very simple. And for the sake of the rule of law please do not make complications by raising disturbing quarries as how not even a single police person hurt by the firing of the bad man? Why police did not tried to catch the person alive ? and so on…

However after 9-11, we the people are provided with some upgraded set of logic's. One can name it Gen X logic's. These are logic's with veiled threat. Now it is not just a mere fable but with a strong massage encrypted in it ,' either you are with us or you are part of enemy' and that is why if you try to raise all these disturbing question you could be branded as the enemy. Better you believe what the state says.

Now coming again to the very police sub inspector. It is said that he has earned enormous amount of wealth by manipulating his duty of executing extra judicial killings , in other words ,a long list of fake encounters, by favoring one group of criminal against the other. His departmental bosses are very much concern about his alleged misuse of power. The Irony is, being an encounter specialist itself is the product of gross indiscipline and utter misuse of the power provided by the state to the police department .

So, what new thing they are going to get through "the trial"?

If it is proved that this encounter specialist really has earned this huge wealth by manipulating his ability of encounters, by favoring ( read killing) individual of one particular gang of mafia against the other, which is a truth yet to discover, what charges are going to frame against this fellow?

Dealing with this particular case one should have to keep in the mind that , this fellow has acquired this huge amount of sum by simply cold blooded murdering a number of people. Just like any other member of the organized crime he had taken 'supari'.

This case is a typical in the nature as corruption is just one part of it and the other part is made up of homicide. Part of the media is shrewdly downplaying the later half by overplaying the first half and that is the most dangerous aspect of this particular case.

Though there are number of punishments prescribed in IPC for killing a fellow human being starting to rigorous imprisonment for years to death penalty, but our encounter specialist do not have to be worry about all that , rather he knows it very well that he will face some petty charges of corruption to maximum.

A simple sub inspector can not become an encounter specialist over night if there is no political patronage behind him. As far as patronage is concern we have this news published in The Hindu on 23 Nov '03, which says that, The then Home Minister of Karnataka, M. Mallikarjun Kharge, ruled out a probe into the encounter killing of two alleged women naxalites in a village near Karkala in Udupi district . In a press conference Mr. Kharge said, "We cannot disbelieve the version of police officials who witnessed the encounter. We have to believe somebody.''

And last but not least ,If a mere police sub inspector can doctor or manipulate this phenomena of 'Encounter', It would be a chilling realization for anyone that magnitude wise how much scope of manipulation is there for the state to eliminate their political rivals through this 'simple' mechanism of extra judicial killings.

Today, Daya nayak has been arrested after a prolonged drama of "to arrest and not to arrest'.

This is the high time to examine the very phenomena of encounter thoroughly.









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