Sabke dimag me apni apni picture chal rahi hai
~ Ramadhir Singh, Gangs of Wasseypur
According to the pictures running in our minds, either of the following happened last night.
A convoy of cars leaves the Police Training School, Ujjain, and takes a right towards Maksi. The silence is broken by a kantaap, technically not the world-famous-in-Kanpur kantaap, but a light slap on the back of the head. Chhota dimaag.
“To bey Dubey, kahan khaayega, gaa*d mein ki aan*d mein?” says a policeman, as everyone breaks into laughter.
“Ee to Wasseypur ka dialogue hai,” says another, pointing out the utter lack of originality of the question.
"Raat raat mein Kanpur pahunchna hai, race diye raho."
The car is speeding beyond Shajapur as it races towards Kanpur. “Is ch**ye ki subah nahin,” someone from the back plays on the title of another film as Vikas is prodded to say something, anything.
Vikas doesn’t threaten them with consequences, of judicial inquiry, of cops losing their jobs consequently, of his political links and how the cops will be committing a crime if they did what they were talking about doing.
“Paap lagega. Brahm hatya ka paap,” is all he can invoke, presently. Killing a Brahmin is the gravest sin, after all.
“Aur tum jo Mishra ji ko maare, wo brahmhatya nahin tha, bho***i ke?” One alludes to the murder of Devendra Mishra, Chaubeypur CO, at the hands of Vikas.
Vikas sees in the rearview mirror that there other cars than that of the police. The media vans are on their toes. In their flashing headlights, he sees a ray of hope.
Vikas had hoped if he engineered his arrest early in the morning, he would be in transit during daytime. Encounters are not easy in broad daylight, though in rare cases they have happened.
But it is the dead of the night and he is on the road. Unsafe in the security, of the STF. They cross toll plazas, sleepy villages, towns, and almost-towns. There is much laughter in the journey and most at his expense. Jokes he could laugh at if he were in the company of Chaubeypur thana’s Tiwari ji, one of his many friends in uniform. But the jokes in the mufti company involve multiple ways Vikas Dubey can be bumped off. Almost everyone is presently sure Vikas has the coronavirus and is worried about tests once all this is over. “Test ke liye bhi jugaad lagana padega, waise main to kuchh din family se duur hi rahunga. Sab is ***** ki wajah se,” one says while delivering a kantaap, this time the authentic one. The policemen have after all put themselves in danger because of this cretin. The danger of coronavirus.
As the dawn breaks, it dawns upon him that he may see the day. The hint of a faint smile is subdued by noticing that the media cars chasing the convoy are suddenly out of the rearview. At different locations, the media cars were stopped in the name of checks and coronavirus pandemic.
The sun was up, the horizon still orange, but maybe, just maybe, it was all a joke.
Then the car stopped, signalled by some policemen on the road. “Brahm hatya,” said someone, not Vikas Dubey, and a Brahmin officer was given the task so that all is well in the hereafter as well. Tatad tatad tatad. Everyone is happy.
“Gaadi puncture kar dein.”
“Ye toh same to same Prabhat Mishra jaisa ho jaayega. Different socho yaar. Gaadi palat do.”
“Ye Safari nahin palti jaayegi humse, chhutki palat dein?”
“Kuchh bhi palat, jaldi kar.” Hurry up.
Ominous music plays. It’s a case of misheard lyrics but sounds like this
Law law law, jaag re murga jaag
Law law law, bhaag sake to bhaag
Law law law, sadak ke neeche reyt
Law law law, punter ho gaya khet
Law law law, counter hua janaab
Law law law, barabar hua hisaab
Law law law, kya maangegi jawaab
Law law law, Babasaheb ki kitaab
Music fades. The End.
Vikas Dubey is being transferred to Kanpur in a police convoy. Near the village Bhaunti, the speeding car that he was in overturns. He is sandwiched between two well-built STF officers, who are both bleeding because of injuries. He pushes one down and climbs over another and extricates his portly self through the broken window. He takes with him the pistol of an injured officer and begins running away. The officers in accompanying cars ask him to stop. He fires a shot and more than one shot are fired from the men in mufti side. Vikas is hit. He is immediately taken to a Kanpur hospital. He is dead on arrival. That’s the news for the day. Goodbye.
Picture 2 is as told by the police. Picture 1 is a piece of fiction which will likely be used by the web series already being scripted. Resemblance to any person/persons living or dead is purely coincidental.
You, however, can believe in either but the facts won't change. We don't know the facts.
WHAT WE KNOW
The fact is that Vikas Dubey was a dreaded criminal. People who feared he would be killed in an encounter on Wednesday were accusing the BJP of shielding him through a convenient arrest on Thursday and are aghast on Friday that he was killed in an encounter. Aao twist karein is the national anthem we never had. The highly politically charged narratives find convenient arguments in the fog and run with it. Freedom of expression and all but the arguments don’t hold.
The mourning of the death of the criminal justice system is clichéd. Police were in for a sound bashing any which way. If he wasn’t killed, he was being protected. If he is killed, then he was killed for he would have revealed the politician nexus and the police wanted to save its own and so on and quite forth.
The truth is he had been jailed, for the murder of a ruling party minister inside a police station. He was arrested, tried, and jailed. There would have been no grand revelations like there weren’t any in the past. All the witnesses, most of them policemen who saw him shooting a man dead in their compound, went hostile. He was out in four years flat. To commit more murders, to raise his political profile. He could have very well continued and fought the next election and become an MLA and that would have been it. Because you cannot shoot a janata ka pratinidhi and once a pratinidhi, forever a democratically elected leader.
Of course, he had political links and friends in high places. That’s how he could carry on for 20 long years. These are not secret links. This is UP. Not some nudge-nudge, wink-wink, Maharashtra or some such sugary Pradesh where the mafia is faceless or Dubai-based. The political-criminal nexus is flaunted on posters and hoardings and well-publicised, lest even a child should remain unaware. His confessions wouldn’t have put anyone in danger, rest assured. He held no secrets that he could tell the police. He had friends in the police who worked with him as long as he didn’t shoot eight of the police party in an afterparty. Too much drinking, you know.
Does that mean we allow such extra-judicial killings without impunity? No. That only means your hopes about the criminal justice system delivering your choice of judgment are misplaced. There are five million cases pending and adding one wouldn’t make a great difference.
Does that mean that I condone the encounter and the mockery of the rule of law? No. All it means is Vikas Dubey is dead and people of Chaubeypur thana kshetra now have 98 problems to worry about, not 99.
Am I justifying the encounter that is fake as f?
Well, show me another banana republic where cops don’t kill a criminal who killed cops! Gotcha!