Sunday, August 1, 2010

Amazing Article: The truth about encounters

I just read the amazing article on truth about encounter on indiatogether.org I thought I would just tweet about the article but some of the lines are so enlightening that I cannot help but put on my blog.



"People are as much attuned to fairness as they are to individual self-interest. Therefore, any institution regulating human behaviour will have to ensure that the compromises between individual self-interest, collective interest and fairness are all within tolerable limits." And this trade-off between self-interest and fairness has to be much carefully managed for an entity as big as a nation.

"Further, the legitimacy of the state is dependent on its being as close to a neutral umpire as possible. When the state appears partisan, its legitimacy can be questioned. When the state sheds the umpire's clothes and becomes one of the players, the rules of fair play are so badly broken that we can only call such an event intolerable injustice."

And here are the main problems with an encounter:

"The unstated policy of encountering unwanted elements is wrong at every possible level - moral, political, strategic and informational - and it leads to a crisis of legitimacy of the state, while claiming to be a patriotic act."

The defense for encounters is mostly hollow:

"A typical defence of state violence given by otherwise liberal minded people is that one needs unorthodox ways to tackle terrorism, crime and insurgency, that Maoists will not listen to anything other than reciprocal violence"

The impartiality of indian government is strictly questionable when most things are decided by encouters:

"In Kashmir, in Maoist controlled areas and in many other parts of India, the Indian state is being questioned because it appears to be a player in the game, rather than the umpire it is supposed to be. Ending the culture of impunity is not just the right thing, it is also the smart thing; it is the first step in creating trust in the institutions that are ostensibly designed to ensure fair outcomes."

And here are some recommendations to systematically treat the problem of encounters:

"Police and army officers should be told that encounters will not bring them any rewards, that they are being paid to bring offenders to justice, not to kill them. ... Policemen and military personnel proven to be 'encounter' specialists should be treated as what they are, criminals, instead of being labelled as heroes. "

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