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Silk city Bhagalpur witnessed earlier what Hyderabad today witnessing- trusting on the existing “rule of law” or demanding for the amendment!
Hyderabad “encounter” incident generates strong debate over the century old criminal judiciary system in the country. Bhagalpur was the epicenter of such debate in early eighties when police blinded some “criminals” in police custody. Local residents whole heartedly supported police action at that time as rising crime graph had created panic in public minds. However, police later became sandwiched between the conflicts among police friendly mass and the different human right bodies along with court of law.
Hyderabad’s temperature catches Bhagalpur today, when two girls, students of a local college entered in the chamber of deputy inspector general of police (DIG), Bhagalpur zone, Vikash Vaibhav and expressed their satisfaction over the morning episode at Hyderabad in which four “accused” in the rape incident of a veterinary doctor were killed in police “encounter”. “But Sir please ensure us when police will encounter those who are inside the jail for rape charge?” the innocent question by the girls virtually upset the veteran IPS, Vaibhav.
“I was initially shocked. But tried my best to convince the young students about the importance of Rule of law,” Vaibhav told. “We must ensure timely justice….as the proverb goes-justice delayed is justice denied. I become sad to see that public gradually losing trust in criminal justice system even I may not doubt what happened in the morning in Hyderabad,” he admitted.
“An experience IPS officer today echoed what exactly his predecessors once commented in early eighties after ‘Bhagalpur blinding’ episode stormed the national and international media headlines”, said Anuj Kumar Sivlochan, a senior journalist here.
Sivlochan recalled how Bhagalpur blinding refers to a series of incident in early eighties in Bhagalpur when police blinded nearly three dozen “criminals” by pouring acid into their eyes. Some of them lost their eye sights when police allegedly damaged their retinas with the spokes of bicycle. All the incidents happened inside side different police stations in the district of Bhagalpur.
The incident was widely discussed, debated and also criticised by several human right organizations. Bhagalpur blinding case had made criminal jurisprudence history by becoming first in which the Supreme Court ordered compensation for violation of basic human rights. Police was castigated by the court for its brutality while violating the basic concept of human rights.
“We had supported police because there was panic everywhere in the city due to rise of crimes. People lost trust on police and judiciary. Police was also helpless in tackling the crime and the goons. Hence police had no other option rather to tackle the rising crime in such way,” said Narayan Das (name changed), an old timer whose young daughter was raped in the city at that time.
“But how one could take law in his hand, there are norms of punishment for every crime by the rule of law. It was the basic violation of human rights,” pointed out Ram Kumar Mishra, a lawyer at Bhagalpur who fought long battle for providing compensation to the victim of Bhagalpur blinding case.
“In a democratic country like us, the law is already existing but the problem is the slowness of the system and involvement of corruptions and malpractices every where. The influence could have the privilege to purchase the law easily. Go to the jail anywhere in the country, you will find over 80-85 person inmates there are innocent but languishing inside the jail either due to the failure of proper justice or due to this faulty system,” said Sanjoy Modi, the secretary of Bhagalpur district bar association, a century old body of lawyers here. Modi along with dozens of young lawyers however strengthen the need of changing the existing criminal laws which once formulated by the British.
“In ancient time the rulers in the country adopted strict punishments with a brief trail. People having a bent of criminal activities used to avoid crime mainly due to the strict consequences of law. But today it’s indeed very difficult for the police to punish an influential criminal in court trail. On the otherhand, poor, illiterate, underprivileged are usually the easy catch of police and law in the country,” admitted a senior IPS on condition of anonymity. He also admitted how the police has to face pressures mainly political pressures. “Delivering justice to a victim in many occasion could not possible mainly because of such faulty laws”, he also admitted.
“This is a big issue; look how general people became suffers due to bad roads, having no proper infrastructures and many more lacunas at Bhagalpur just because of the embezzlement of crores of rupees by a well-organized racket, known as Srijan case. What the hell the law enforcing agencies could nail down the real masterminds in the scam yet? Since they are very influential and having political clouts, nothing is hoped to be happened despite the central investigation agency, CBI has been monitoring the case”, pointed out Anand Mohon Jha, a lawyer at Bhagalpur.