Politician-police-gangster nexus adds to lawlessness

The Vikas Dubey episode beginning with the massacre of eight cops including a DSP and his subsequent killing in an “encounter” unashamedly points to a politician-police-criminal nexus. It also once again lays focus on the need for urgent reforms so that only rule of law prevails and not lawlessness or rule by force.

The “encounter” and killing of five accomplishes during the one week, leaves many questions unanswered. His interrogation and disclosures could have opened the lid off the big fish that was patronizing him. With him gone, the questions will remain in public domain.

A chartered plane was sent to MP but why was the gangster being brought by a vehicle? Why was the gangster shifted to a different vehicle minutes before the said encounter and entire traffic including media vehicles stopped at a check post?

He was last seen in a Tata Safari, but tried to flee from a Mahindra utility vehicle? Who were all those patronizing the gangster? He did not resist arrest in Ujjain, why would he risk fleeing police custody? He had chased a BJP minister, Santosh Shukla inside the Shivli Police Station in Kanpur rural and shot him dead in broad daylight.

He was named in the FIR, surrendered after six months and was acquitted later as the gunner, shadow and personal staff of the minister gave statements in his favour. During the “encounter”, he was hit by three bullets in the chest and one in the arm, suggesting that he was shot from the front and not back while fleeing.

There appear many gaping holes in this story. He was involved in over 60 cases and yet roamed free, managed travel across state borders at a time of Covid-19 when movements were restricted. He was a gangster and deserved to be taken to task as per the rule of law.

There is a system in place but it seems, police have their own standard operating system. Just a day before the “encounter”, a petition was filed in the Supreme Court seeking directions to the government and the police to safeguard his life and ensure that he is not killed by the cops. The killing is reminiscent of the shooting of four accused in the Hyderabad gang rape case of a veterinary doctor last year. All the four accused were killed as they had “snatched” weapons from cops and opened fire. Police were showered with rose petals and crowds took to the streets, cheering the men’s deaths, saying “swift justice” had been meted out. These kind of deaths — dubbed “encounters” — where police claim suspects were killed trying to resist arrest or while escaping from custody, are apparently part of a well-worn script trotted out by authorities.

Human rights campaigners in India have been warning of a deepening culture of impunity as police take the law into their own hands. In the case of Vikas Dubey’s extrajudicial killing, the The Opposition too is training guns on the government while there are questions galore in the public mind. The least the government can do now is to order an independent probe for the sake of its own credibility.