Police encounters and secular privilege in Indian politics

Between 2002 and 2007, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) found 440 cases of suspected “fake” encounters by the police across India. Out of these, only five cases happened to be in Gujarat, which could well be the lowest among big states. But names such as Sohrabuddin Sheikh came to be etched in public memory. They became household names, celebrity causes and in some cases, heroes.

So much so that, in the liberal imagination, this is what India’s history of police encounters looks like today.

This is not from a parody account. This is from a person often described by allegedly respectable people as a “fact checker.” Let that sink in.

As with all things in Indian politics, the “secular privilege” extends to police encounters. Because Narendra Modi was Gujarat CM, 5 encounters in Gujarat become more important than 435 in the rest of India. And now, we have media obsessing over everything that Yogi Adityanath’s government does in Uttar Pradesh.

This “secular privilege” is so extreme that I sometimes wonder if BJP ruled states and non-BJP ruled states exist in different universes.

Here is an example : anyone who has ever watched Bollywood movies has heard about the legendary Mumbai underworld. As the Hindustan Times notes in an article titledRise of the ’83 encounter batch

The Mumbai Police Commissioner at the time was Julio Ribeiro. A man who was celebrated in popular culture as ‘super cop.’ As the Hindustan Times notes, many of the officers who served under him came to be known as “encounter specialists.”

Were any of these encounters fake? I have no idea. I wasn’t there. But surely our media, our intelligentsia and five star activists could ask if they were fake?

But did they? Did any of them dare to ask such questions? Oh and did any of them ask if Mumbai Police was trying to save powerful politicians who might have links to gangsters?

Of course they didn’t ask. The secular privilege applies. The burqa of secularism ensures that no questions are ever asked.

In fact, ‘super cop’ Julio Ribeiro wrote his autobiography which he called “Bullet for Bullet : My Life as a Police Officer.” Excellent choice of title I would say. Maybe the book should be required reading for everyone who believes in due process and concepts such as guilty until proven innocent in a court of law.

In fact, Julio Ribeiro received even more praise from liberal quarters when he spoke out against “intolerance” in 2015. Most tellingly, he said that he feels like he is on a “hit list” because he is a Christian. Well, we have to trust his police instincts in such matters. He was a super cop after all.

Whether “fact checkers” and historians like it or not, facts remain facts and history remains history. In fact, reality is one of the structural problems that modern liberalism is facing today.

Therefore, the liberal strategy is to de-legitimize human memory. They have a label for it : whataboutism. Slap a label on something you don’t like and dismiss it. That’s Modern Liberalism 101.

So if you have heard of police encounters in India before Modi became Gujarat CM, you are guilty of whataboutism.

In fact, if you have heard of the 435 encounters outside Gujarat in 2002-07 instead of the 5 encounters in Gujarat they want you to know about, you are guilty of whataboutism.

Put your blinkers on and your memory on hold. Walk the narrow straight path on which ‘fact checkers’ are leading you. It’s the only way to be (self) righteous.

11 thoughts on “Police encounters and secular privilege in Indian politics

    1. He has not crossed over, he was always there! Devdutt has always presented biased narratives and deliberately misinterpreted many religious texts to suit his convenience. Here is just one of such links where Nityanand exposes Devdutt:

      Devdutt has no grasp Itihasas, Puranas, Sastras, Upanishads as he never learnt it under any guru-shishya parampara. He has perfunctory superficial understanding of such things just like any layman would have if he/she were to read such profound philosophical works from internet sources all by himself. He even has a very poor grasp of sanskrit and often his interpretations are way off the mark when compared to the original text and context in which the text is placed. Unfortunately, the youth who have no exposure to these philosophical works from other sources are taken in by Devdutt’s misinterpretations. Of course Devdutt has been “successful” much in the same way as Ram Guha has been as a “eminent historian” effortlessly as they are promoted by unseen hands to work for their cause of showing sanatana dharma in a poor light. Never ever take seriously any words of slick presenters who have not undergone any process of extensive training under a guru-shishya parampara when it comes to sanatana dharma. To master such works requires a life time of efforts. I am saying this in all seriousness, even to gain a good understanding it would require rigorous training of 18+ years at the minimum. It is much, much, much more difficult than getting a Phd. from even a reputed university anywhere in the world.

      The fact of the matter is Sanatana Dharma does not refer to any sectarian process of religion, it is the function of the eternal living entities (Atma) in relationship with the eternal Supreme Lord (Paramatma). Sanatana Dharma refers to the eternal occupation of the living entity, one which has no beginning nor end.


  1. The underworld in Mumbai had the blessings of the Congress. To the extent that Sharad Pawar helped the perpetrators of the 1993 Mumbai blasts to escape to Dubai.

    There is no role for the underworld in a Dharmic society and it has to be terminated. The methods can vary but underworld cannot be allowed to flourish. In many parts of India, the underworld is run by Jihadis and the money is funneled into terrorism. Any government that allows the underworld to run is a terrorist government.

    If we had a decent justice system then the dons could have been given a trials but our justice system is corrupt and inefficient. Which means it will take decades for something to happen.Even when in jail the dons run their empires and cause bloodshed and violence.

    For India to grow, UP has to grow. Which means business has to flourish. Which means mafia and extortion gangs have to be closes. Which in means that they have to be exterminated. And this is what Yogi is doing.

    The underworld is deeply connected with Liberals in many ways including providing sustenance to the liberals and urban naxals. This is why liberals feel anguish and anxiety when dons are eliminated.


  2. Missing from all the debates about ‘encounters’ is the deep underlying rot in delivering timely justice and/or in many instances failure to deliver justice. Vikas Dubey is the symptom, he is not the cause.

    Gangsters like these work under the patronage of powerful politicians who use them to settle scores and remove road blocks that come in the way of their ambitions. With such powerful people backing them, these gangsters operate with impunity and carry out wanton killings to subjugate people to their will.

    Cases after cases pile up against such gangsters but hardly any case leads to conviction as witnesses are either coerced to withdraw their statements or eliminated. If they are convicted in any case at all, then they go in appeal to higher court and are easily granted bail, so they are back on the streets to continue to operate with impunity. Vikas Dubey had 63 criminal cases including multiple murder cases pending against him. In one case he was convicted by lower court based on a single witness statement, but he was out again immediately on bail upon appeal to a higher court.

    Does anyone debating in TV studios and MSM who argue for ‘rule of law’ etc. can say with certainty that Vikas Dubey would not have been released again on bail? Already someone has filed a PIL on behalf of Vikas Dubey in SC, no less!

    Knowing Vikas Dubey’s antecedents, who can claim with certainty that he would not have snatched the gun and try to kill the policemen accompanying him in trying to escape during his transit? The preponderance of probability points to the fact that Vikas Dubey would indeed act in the manner he did, given the fact of his criminal antecedents, involvement in 63 criminal cases with many of them on murder charges and who just a week back killed eight policemen in a premeditated action in cold blood. So all these armchair critics, politically motivated activists, SCUMs, and their lot can Go to Hell.

    Bottom Line – India needs urgent Police and Judicial reforms to meet the growing challenges of the 21st century India. The same old colonial framework has proven totally inadequate to meet the requirements of current day India.


  3. The Chinese are going to be back and very soon. Hope Modi sheds his Gandhian principles and starts preparing for war in earnest. Otherwise he will become Nehru 2.0


    The government has to prepare on a war footing. It has to quickly buy/manufacture whatever is needed and not run around at the last minute like Rajnath Singh just did.

    Next summer if Trump is not around, the Chinese are going to seek revenge. And they dont play by the Gandhian textbook.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not just Modi, some more cabinet Ministers need to get out of their babu induced trance.

      For taking on the CPC army the road and rail links to Ladakh are absolutely vital. And yet…! Work on the new 4 lane highway to Manali in important sections is at a total standstill. Rusting machinery, half complete bridges, material stocked at sites getting slowly pilfered. This is Gadkari’s responsibility. I often pass through these stalled road building projects and can’t help thinking: What the bloody hell is going on?

      As for the Bhanupalli-Leh rail link, it has become a standing joke. It is said if the files of this project were laid end they’d reach all the way from Bhanupalli to Leh.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. BJP/Government has to understand that they just had a narrow miss with China. But if they remain incompetent and in Gandhian mode, we will get thrashed badly when the Chinese are ready.

        The army has to also induct good enough indigenous platforms and not wait for the perfect platform. A number of good DRDO projects have been stalled because of the armed forces wishi-washiness.

        Babus have to be slapped into waking up. With two powerful enemies at our doorstep, the babus cannot be permitted to sit on files forever.

        Preparations have to begin on a war footing, it is only a matter of time before the Chinese are at our doorstep again


  4. What is missing from the discussion on police encounters is the need for judicial reform. Even with so many murders and so many other crimes, this guy Vikas Debey was released is a major crime. With all information, we have about the five culprits in Gujarat encounters any sane person would hail those encounters. We have watched numerous Bollywood films on policeman hero as the encounter specialist. I have heard that in America criminals with multiple crimes are awarded jail sentences as the jail term is added for each crime resulting in jail time of 135 years, 140 years, etc. If that is true, their system is barbaric?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Had the lower court not acquited Dhube of the murder committed by him 20 years
    back, had Mayavathi appealed against the acquittal the precious lives of the cops could have been saved and the obvious fake encounter would not have been staged. Shame on the corrupt judiciary and crook politicians.


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