Two incidents on Tuesday in the neighbouring states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have called into question many methods of policing that seem to be common all over the country.
First, take the case of the killing of timber smugglers in Andhra Pradesh (AP). Predictably the incidents have triggered a volley of political reactions because the AP shooting involved two different states. It has been reported that but for the scale of the killing, this incident is nothing new.
Red sanders smuggling has been on for years and so have the killings. In that case, it can be asked why the situation reached the scale it did and who was responsible for such illegalities.
Also, since there were no gunshots from the other side, the police could have explored non-lethal options to overcome the culprits. The defence by the state director general of police that there is no binding law in this regard does not amount to much because the objective of the police is not to kill but book the guilty, which could have been done in this case with minimal damage.
The case of the killing of five undertrials of the banned Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) is all the more mysterious, when looked at in the light of the fact that two of its members were killed some days ago by the police when they were escaping after having shot dead some policemen. It defies credulity that five handcuffed, and presumably unarmed, men could pose such a difficult situation in a van full of policemen that they had to be shot.
Finally, there should be a word of caution for the political parties that have jumped into the fray. The way they have reacted to the Andhra Pradesh event is giving the whole thing a provincial colour. Tamil Nadu chief minister O Panneerselvam has correctly written to his Andhra Pradesh (AP) counterpart on the matter because those killed are mainly from Tamil Nadu.
But now he should widen his role and visit the root of the problem. So should AP CM Chandrababu Naidu and flush out those at whose bidding such things happen.