Was Justice Really Served In The Priyanka Reddy Case? Perhaps In Some Ways, But We Are Conflicted
November 28, 2019 : A veterinary doctor in Hyderabad, Priyanka Reddy was tactfully cornered by a group of four men, raped, smothered and her body was set on fire and charred to death. Her remains dumped 25 kms away from the crime scene. She was simply picking her scooter up from toll plaza, not asking or provoking anyone, minding her own business, in covered clothes that too, and yet was subjected to a death we wish upon no one.
8 days later, 6th December, 2019 : The four accused and captured were taken to the very bridge where they dumped Dr. Priyanka Reddy’s body after burning to reconstruct the crime scene. Minutes into the investigation at the crime scene, the accused allegedly tried to attack the policemen, which lead to all 4 being shot dead in an encounter.
The news broke at 6:30 am in the morning today and since then, I have constantly been going back and forth over what I feel about this encounter. When the rape case was reported, the feelings that bubbled up inside of me or any other woman were more or less relatable. There was anger, fear, helplessness and even restlessness at the inaction against it. But with this encounter, everyone is divided – was justice really served. There is a part of me that feels no remorse over the death of 4 monsters as opposed to them being catered to in a jail cell for years as they waited for the verdict, ensconced and in custody but with courts not in any tearing hurry to move this along. But, there is also a part of me that questions whether we have been too merciful with them, for relieving them of all the guilt, shame and consequence that we’d hope they would suffer through otherwise. If we placed a little faith in our judicial system, would it have worked out better?
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As soon as the news about the accused being shot dead at the crime scene hit the headlines today, in a very twisted way, it felt that life had come full circle for them. That karma had finally decided to make it even on this one. People lauded the policemen, showered them with petals, with many others claiming how justice has been served. But come to think of it, has it really? Of course, when I ask that question I don’t mean to defend their untimely and cowardly death, they had it coming either way. If not now, then maybe years down the line. The case would have gone to court and just like Nirbhaya, maybe the accused would’ve been sentenced to capital punishment, but we didn’t get to see it play out.
Father of the woman veterinarian on all 4 accused killed in police encounter: It has been 10 days to the day my daughter died. I express my gratitude towards the police & govt for this. My daughter's soul must be at peace now. #Telangana pic.twitter.com/aJgUDQO1po
— ANI (@ANI) December 6, 2019
Think about it, the pressure on the system, on the police was immense and the nation, once again had risen up against the act in unity. Change did seem right around the corner to a few hopeful ones who didn’t want Dr. Priyanka Reddy’s death to go in vain, without any strict law and reform coming by. And right then, the people responsible for it, were granted an escape through an encounter, considerably stripping us away from the satisfaction of seeing them wilt away under the regret, consequence and nation-wide hate. So, was it really the right thing to do, to relieve them by letting them off the hook so easy?
And while a part of us strongly believes that this encounter was all but an act of ‘pleasing’ the angry citizens and making up in a perfunctory manner for their own lack of patrolling and keeping the women safe in the first place, we’d be fools to think things would have run fair course if they went to court. ‘If’ being the operative word here, for with cases of survivors and witnesses being killed and put on fire, the truth of the matter is that even getting to court has become a dream. So when we talk about this case having what it takes to bring about reform, we’d just be lying to ourselves and turning a blind eye to the flawed justice system of our country by pinning all our hopes on this one.
— Adarsh singh🇮🇳 (@AdarshRo45) December 6, 2019
A father in Kerala had to kill the rapist and murderer of his 13 year old daughter, coz a Kerala court let the rapist out on bail. The ‘juvenile’ in the #Nirbhaya case is a free man with a sewing machine. In such a situation, how can one NOT be happy with the #encounter?
— Shefali Vaidya (@ShefVaidya) December 6, 2019
Great work #hyderabadpolice ..we salute u 🙏
— Saina Nehwal (@NSaina) December 6, 2019
What we need is a quick response, good investigation, a speedy trial, and fast justice. Collapsing due process with an #encounter will only lead to the process collapsing.
— Ramesh Srivats (@rameshsrivats) December 6, 2019
Do these people who are celebrating #Encounter and showering flower petals on cops realise that the cops initially delayed looking for the victim and told the family that she would have eloped? No? Ok.
May be slow down and recollect? Thnx.
— Megha Kaveri (@meghakaveri) December 6, 2019
And let’s suppose this could actually drive change, the fact that these men have been killed shouldn’t come in between from the court of law to see this case through. They should still run a trial and take necessary action for people to remember it by, more than just an example of a woman who was wronged and killed. This should be the case that should go down in history as the one that lead the change – where the judicial system rose to the occasion and delivered a verdict that was swift and fitting.
But this is exactly why we are so torn. There is a sense of justice for our patience is wearing thin. But also we don’t need to degenerate into a country where justice is served in a way a few deem fit. The truth of the matter is, for the longest time, we have not known any other way to live than by looking over our shoulders, checking our bags for a pepper spray and constantly keeping our guard up. And if it isn’t obvious enough, it is exhausting. We are exhausted of living under such gripping fear for life and safety, and we are tired of being slyly pushed under the carpet of this country’s weak and insufficient governance and justice system.
And don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t mean that we are desperate enough to take justice in any means we get. These policemen, no matter how much people say otherwise, are not heroes. They, in fact, failed her. They failed her the moment Priyanka Reddy was raped. So no, this is not really justice for us. We too want things to go through a proper procedure and for these men to be lawfully tried and give a punishment fitting the crime. Because the only means to justice on this is by preempting assault. Anything less than that is not acceptable and more than that would only encourage mob behaviour. And at this point, we need neither. Maybe the reason why we are so conflicted about it, is because we know this is the closest to justice we could get for what they have done, considering the kind of world we live in. But also cannot deny the remorse we feel for it not being the ideal world where we would’ve watched them pay for their sins in legal recourse, setting the best example for others to come.
Maybe now people won’t just remember Priyanka Reddy as a victim of rape who was burned to death. Maybe now they will remember how the men did this to her, were too shot to death, but whether this will deter people – we don’t know. But we’ve never known, have we?