Published: 06th December 2019
No custodial murder in our name: Women's groups slam encounter, call it ploy to shut down accountability
The AIPWA also raised another question several others are also asking, if the four men were even guilty, they were after all only suspects.
The All India Progressive Women's Association released a statement condemning the police encounter in the Hyderabad rape case. Titled 'No Custodial Murder In Our Name', the President, General Secretary and Secretary of the AIPWA called the incident a custodial murder 'dressed up to look like an encounter'.
"We, as a country, will now be told that "justice" has been done, the victim avenged. And now we can all go back to business as usual, reassured that our police, our government, our society are righteous, and the evil rapists are no more. But this justice is counterfeit," the association said. Rati Rao, Meena Tiwari and Kavita Krishnan in their statement said that a system that offers murder as 'justice' is a system that is telling women - 'we can't ensure the streets are safe, can't investigate crimes against women to ensure there's enough evidence to prove guilty, can't protect rape survivors (one was burnt alive yesterday in UP), can't ensure that survivors get dignity in Court'.
The AIPWA also raised another question several others are also asking, if the four men were even guilty, they were after all only suspects. "We do not know if there was a shred of evidence proving their guilt, beyond the custodial confessions which police in India routinely obtain through torture. Torture does not reveal the truth. Tortured men will say anything the torturers want to hear," they explained.
"Women's movement groups will be the first to say - this is not justice. This is a ploy to shut down our demand for accountability from the police, judiciary, governments, and justice and dignity for women. Instead of being accountable to his job and answering our questions about his Government's failures to safeguard women's rights, the Telangana CM and his police have acted as leaders of a lynch mob," the association members said in their statement. They also pointed out that when the victim's family had initially mocked their attempts to find their daughter even saying that women should stay home after 8 pm. They also pointed out to the 2008 encounter case where the three men were accused in an acid attack case.
The AIPWA demanded a thorough investigation into the alleged 'encounter'. "We, activists of the women's movement, continue to demand substantive justice for women. We want the police to do its job, and protect women's rights, not act as Judge and executioner. We do not want a mythical "collective conscience" appeased by the murder of men the police declares to be rapists," they said.
The National Commission Women Chairperson Rekha Sharma said that while the women's rights body wanted the death penalty for the accused, they wanted it to come through proper judicial channel. "We wanted death penalty but it should have been through judicial channel. I do not know under what circumstances they were shot and this has to come out after the inquiry. So only the police can tell the truth or after the inquiry, it would come out," the National Commission for Women chief told PTI over phone," Sharma said to PTI.