Telangana Police sets a disturbing precedent of circumventing the Indian legal system

Amnesty International India
Bengaluru/ New Delhi: 6 December 2019 2:35 pm

The Telangana Government must ensure an independent, impartial, swift and thorough criminal investigation into the alleged extrajudicial execution of four undertrial prisoners by the state police on 6 December, said Amnesty International India today. In a shocking incident, the deceased persons were accused of raping and murdering a 25-year old veterinarian and burning her body in Hyderabad.

“Extrajudicial killings are not a solution to preventing rape,” said Avinash Kumar, Executive Director, Amnesty International India. “The reported delay in filing the First Information Report by the Telangana Police in this case coupled with the shoddy investigation and the general low conviction rate for those accused of rape raises deeply disturbing questions about the state of justice in India,” said Kumar.

The incident occurred when the state police had taken the undertrials to the site where rape had been committed as part of the investigation. The state police have alleged that the undertrials snatched the police firearms, attacked the police officials and tried to flee, which led to the police firing at the undertrials and subsequently killing them.

Under international law, extrajudicial, arbitrary or summary executions and enforced disappearances are strictly forbidden. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which India is a party prohibits arbitrary deprivation of life and guarantees the right to a fair trial.  Moreover, the UN Principles on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions require that “[t]here shall be thorough, prompt and impartial investigation of all suspected cases of extra-legal, arbitrary and summary executions, including cases where…reliable reports suggest unnatural death in the above circumstances.”

“In a modern and rights-respecting society, using extrajudicial executions to offer justice to victims of rape is not only unconstitutional but circumvents the Indian legal system and sets a grossly wrong precedent. An independent investigation is essential,” said Avinash Kumar.

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