‘Why don’t they protest for better police force?’

Retired IPS officers who served in top positions, retired judges and experts have stressed the need for reforms in the police and criminal justice system in the country. 

Reforms and delays in the justice delivery system were recurring subjects at a discussion on ‘Encounter deaths, police reforms and human rights’ organised here on Saturday by the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative and the Karnataka State Human Rights Commission in the wake of the encounter of four suspects in Telangana rape and murder case. 

Former state police chief Ajai Kumar Singh said encounter deaths demonstrated the use of extreme force.

“The reaction of the public in the recent Hyderabad encounter case is a clear indication of the lack of faith in the criminal justice system because people celebrated these encounters by rewarding the police who conducted encounter,” he explained. 

S T Ramesh, another retired state police chief, highlighted the lack of police reforms.

Referring to the protests against the proposed steel flyover, he asked why there were no protests for police reforms. “Everybody should ask for police reforms because we deserve a better police force. Both the police and the criminal justice system should be reformed. There is no dearth of reports for reforms but implementation is the problem,” he noted. 

Highlighting the tardy delivery of justice, he said: “The criminal justice system is extremely slow and unless reforms are done, fake encounters will continue. Police have to be independent and nobody should dictate, especially the political bosses. There is a need for reforms, right from training to the independence of the police,” he stated. 

Yet another retired DG&IGP, R Sri Kumar, asked three questions of the Hyderabad police over the encounter. “I want to know why they (the rape suspects) were they not handcuffed? The second question is why were they taken together for a spot inspection. The third question is was there any pressure on the commissioner,” he said. 

He said the reaction of the people to the incident was both “surprising and suffocating”. “This is because the public has no faith in the criminal justice system which has collapsed completely,” he noted. 

Former Lokayukta Justice N Santosh Hegde said the Hyderabad encounter was a form of elimination that points to a change in society.

“Everyone here expressed that there is a need for reforms but I feel society has changed now. When we were children, if someone committed a crime and went to jail, the whole society would boycott them. Now, that has completely changed,” he said. 

Karnataka State Human Rights Commission member Rupak Kumar Surya, former minister Prof B K Chandrashekar, writer Prof Ashadevi and writer Prof K Marulasiddappa were present in the discussion. 

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