18 June, 2021


Cops who shoot first and ask questions later (if at all). In law and ethics, this is where the lines begin to blur. Updates

Watch the swagger of an encounter specialist; it's hard to miss the arrogance, perhaps even conceit, that he was born to kill and the khaki he wears authorises him to kill. Look closely: there's nary a sign of remorse on the face of disgraced Gujarat DIG D.G. Vanzara as policemen escort him to and from the courtroom in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh case. In the air of panic created by a welter of what could be genuine cases—as when a Delhi police team took position against supposed terror operatives in Dilli Haat earlier this week (they finally claimed to have arrested three terrorists and recovered explosives)—the self-belief that they are rescuing the rest of us from sure disaster is always writ large. At the height of his exploits, Mumbai inspector Pradeep Sharma told an international news agency: "The gangs in Mumbai are now on the run. Encounters are an addiction for me. I feel bored on Sundays."

Increasingly, in the hotbed of organised crime and terrorism, encounters by the police—sometimes by the army—have gained tacit acceptance as...

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