2008 Warangal encounter replayed

Eleven years later, the Warangal encounter was repeated, literally, at Chatanpally on NH-44 in Shadnagar early on Friday,Hyderabad: The similarities are many, the brain behind both incidents, one. For the people of Warangal, soft-spoken IPS officer Vishwanath Channapa Sajjanar became a hero in 2008 when he and his team shot dead three persons accused of throwing acid on two women, one of whom succumbed to her injuries, while the other survived but with lifelong emotional and physical scars.

That encounter, too, took place in December. Sajjanar, who was then Warangal Superintendent of Police, produced three suspects — S Srinivas Rao, P Harikrishna and D Sanjay — all in their 20s, before the media and later took them for a scene-by-scene reconstruction of the crime. The suspects allegedly attacked the police in an attempt to escape, leading to the police opening fire in self-defence and killing all three.After the encounter, people flooded Sajjanar’s office, shook hands with him, garlanded him and presented him with bouquets. Some youth hoisted him on their shoulders appreciating his action against the acid attackers.

Eleven years later, the Warangal encounter was repeated, literally, at Chatanpally on NH-44 in Shadnagar early on Friday. The four suspects in the Disha rape-murder case — Mohammed Arif, Jollu Shiva, Jollu Naveen and Chintakunta Chennakeshavulu — all in their 20s, were produced before the media, and after being remanded, taken into police custody. The police took them to the crime spot for scene reconstruction and also to search for the 26-year-old veterinarian’s mobile phone, power bank and other valuables.On Friday, the suspects reportedly snatched two guns from the police personnel, and after a brief scuffle in which two policemen were injured, opened fire at them and attempted to escape. The police fired back in an act of self-defence. After over 10 minutes of retaliatory firing, all the four suspects were gunned down.

Sajjanar, whose men faced criticism for reasons including a sloppy response when the parents first approached them, saying their daughter was missing, was now being hailed for “serving justice”, just as he was praised in 2008.

In Warangal, the suspects were picked up within 48 hours, and so were the Shadnagar accused. In both cases, they were killed in encounters within days after the arrests. And in both cases, widespread appreciation overpowered the sounds decrying the shootings.