Encounters in Indian Cinema!

August 13, 2007

I was watching the final moments of an Indian movie called the shootout at lokhandwala last night and I was captivated by a strange practice by Indian police called The Encounter.
According to the movie the encounters are used by Indian police to apprehend the bad guys of society by killing them! Even if the bad guys agree to surrender the encounter police will not take the bad guys in, instead they will shoot them dead!
Apart from movies I wanted to check for myself if this practice is really happening in India or it is just another myth created by Bollywood.

Upon doing minor research it was clear that encounters are happening for real and the Indian police have used encounters extensively during the 90s to clear Mumbai (Bombay) of its criminals and gangsters.

Such encounters also goes by the name of staged encounters where police catch the criminals, kill them at a remote area and plant the evidence suggesting a shootout between police and the criminals.

Human rights groups in India have always criticized this practice and question the motives behind these encounters. Several cases have been filled against police officers in connection with staged encounters, but still no court has ruled against the police by accepting that the killings are staged by police. Even then it is widely accepted that staged encounters do take place and there are some critics who claim that the victims of the encounters are mostly common men who are innocent.

There are others who say that such tactics are needed against gangsters who are supported by the corrupt politicians and avoid arrest with their help. Criminals who have support from politicians, businessmen and sometimes the police never spend time in jail. Every time a gangster or Bhai as they call themselves is arrested for a crime as vicious as murder, they end up being freed against bail by the corrupt court system in India.

I am not sure with which group to agree, I would like to have something like this used against the Taliban, but I am also very much afraid that Afghan police would use this tool to kill innocent.
In the Afghan context the encounter could be an interesting subject. Presume that this tactic is picked up by Afghan police from their Indian counterparts what would be the positive and negative impact of it.

At least we will have a lot of movies about Afghan Encounters!

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