POST TIME: 10 December, 2019 00:00 00 AM
India ‘rapists’ shooting revives extrajudicial killing fears
AFP, New Delhi

India ‘rapists’ shooting revives extrajudicial killing fears

The shooting of four gang-rape and murder suspects by Indian police has highlighted the scourge of extrajudicial killings in a nation grappling with high levels of sexual crimes and a notoriously slow judicial process.

Authorities claimed the four men were killed in a "shootout" during a re-enactment of the attack, carried out just under two weeks ago, in which a 27-year-old veterinarian was raped and murdered, before her body was burnt.

Police were feted with rose petals, and crowds took to the streets cheering the men's deaths, saying "swift justice" had been meted out.

"The law has done its duty," local police chief V.C. Sajjanar told reporters.

These kind of deaths -- dubbed "encounters" in South Asia -- where police claim suspects were killed trying to resist arrest or while escaping from custody, are

part of a well-worn script trotted out by authorities. But human rights campaigners warned of a deepening culture of impunity as police take the law into their own hands.

“Over the decades extrajudicial killings and custodial torture have assumed legal sanctity in India,” leading Supreme Court lawyer and founder of the Human Rights Law Network, Colin Gonsalves, told AFP.

“It’s worrying that criminality of the police is now getting public approval.” After the killings, Chief Justice Sharad Arvind Bobde of the Supreme Court said he had concerns about the use of “instant” justice.