19th September marks five years of the Batla House ‘encounter’. Neither was this encounter unique nor the last in our long and shameful history of extra judicial violence. It has however come to symbolize how Constitutional principles are undermined and all safeguards subverted to protect a system based on impunity.

The NHRC guidelines were not followed and no magisterial enquiry was allowed into the Batla House ‘encounter’, as indeed happens with a large proportion of all encounters. The NHRC itself participated in a brazen violation of its own guidelines by giving a clean chit to the Special Cell based on statements of senior police officers. In any case, the NHRC has seen itself as a body to disburse ‘compensations’ to the families of those killed in fake encounters, rather than ensuring that guilty police officers are punished for their crimes.

Today, when the clamour for blood and retribution threatens to erode even the pretensions to due process and rule of law, let us strengthen our struggle against extra judicial violence.

Poster designed by Harsh Kapoor.

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