Two incidents in the recent past have brought back the spectre of extra-judicial killings. The first incident refers to the alleged encounter killing of a Delhi-based businessman by officers of the Delhi Police Special Cell. The second incident refers to an earlier encounter killing of 20 red sandalwood smugglers near Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh by officers from the Andhra Police. Since both incidents are currently under judicial scrutiny, it would be unwise to arrive at judgements surrounding their culpability. However, rising evidence against the versions presented by both sets of police forces has left numerous observers, from both the political class to civil society, rather disturbed. Also Read – Working on improving tiesIn the first case, reports have emerged that 10 days before the Delhi-based businessman was gunned down in an alleged encounter, the Delhi Police Special Cell had told a local court that neither an FIR nor a complaint was received against him. This discovery flies in the face of the Special Cell’s claim that the slain businessman was wanted in several cases and had been on the run from the law. With reference to the encounter killing of 20 red sandalwood smugglers, news reports have emerged that the many of the slain were possibly tortured before being murdered. According to the police, these 20 labourers had attacked them with sickles, axes and stones and the police had gunned them down in self-defence. This claim is perplexing on many levels. Also Read – Political parties and our RepublicThe police was not involved in a skirmish with highly trained and heavily armed militants; they were dealing with a group of underpaid minimum wage labourers. If it was indeed in self-defence as they claim, where are the injuries of the task force members? Reportedly, only two members of the task-force were injured. Further disheartening is the inefficacy of our legal system in resolving encounter killings. According to government figures, out of 555 recorded encounter killings between 2009 and 2013, only 144 cases were been resolved. Irrespective of a final judgement on both incidents, one cannot rationalise extra-judicial killings, without going down a very slippery moral slope. Once the State and its police go down the path of extra-judicial killings, it is likely to make its way towards tyranny. It is impossible to condone summary executions, especially if they are conducted by those who consider themselves to be the guardians of the law. Instead of summary executions, the State, especially its police, must follow the due process of law and subject the suspect to a trial process. Even Ajmal Kasab, one the perpetrators behind the heinous terror attack in Mumbai, was subjected to a trial process. According to respected political commentator Praful Bidwai, “Civil liberties are too valuable to be subordinated to reasons of state without undermining democracy”. The truth behind both these murky incidents, therefore, must come through soon.
Enroll Now for Free 3 min read July 8, 2013 This hands-on workshop will give you the tools to authentically connect with an increasingly skeptical online audience. This story originally appeared on Reuters Free Workshop | August 28: Get Better Engagement and Build Trust With Customers Now Smartphone app developer Shazam has found an unlikely ally in the form of Carlos Slim, one of the world’s richest men, who is investing $40 million to back the development of the startup best known for helping music fans identify catchy songs.The move is surprising for 73-year-old Slim, who built his company America Movil in a more staid sector, namely the highly regulated telecommunications and TV business in Latin America.Before Shazam, Slim’s only forays into Europe were to plough 4.8 billion euros ($6.1 billion) into stakes in Dutch operator KPN and Telekom Austria, on which he is nursing huge paper losses after their shares declined sharply in the past year.Slim, ranked the world’s top billionaire by Forbes magazine with a net worth of $73 billion, was brought in by one of Shazam’s venture capital owners, Silicon Valley fund Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.British-based Shazam will use the funds to accelerate its expansion into television, where its recognition software can tune into an advertisement’s soundtrack then link viewers directly to the brand’s website.It wants to establish the offer in Britain and the rest of Western Europe and Latin America.”Within 18 months we expect TV will significantly outperform the music side (of the business) and that’s part of this investment,” Andrew Fisher, executive chairman of Shazam, said in an interview.HUGE OPPORTUNITYBlue-chip brands such as Unilever, Procter & Gamble and American Express are among the companies who have already used Shazam in advertising campaigns in North America, where the company generates tens of millions of dollars in revenue from the TV side, Fisher said.Given that global TV advertising spending totaled $350 billion in 2012, according to researchers Nielsen, the scale of the opportunity for Shazam is huge, said Fisher, who hopes the TV business will help build the company into one suitable for a stock-market listing.”That’s our ambition, to list … Certainly, two years’ time is realistic,” he said. The company’s products are already used by 350 million people.America Movil has also agreed to promote Shazam across the dozen or so markets it operates in Latin America. “Shazam is defining a new category of media engagement that combines the power of mobile with traditional broadcast media and advertising,” Slim said in a statement.Related: Billionaire Carlos Slim on Why 60 Is the New 30Slim’s investment takes the total backing that Shazam has secured since 2009 to $72 million.The billionaire businessman’s empire of phone, construction and banking companies often expands by buying stakes in small companies. Earlier this year, Ora.TV, a fledgling online digital television network funded by America Movil, bought TV production company Stick Figure Productions.Separately, Slim’s Grupo Financiero Inbursa, which runs an investment fund managing about 5.15 billion pesos ($394.1 million), has invested in companies from film financier Movie Risk to natural gas company Gas Natural Mexico. ($1 = 0.7792 euros)(Additional reporting by Leila Abboud in Paris and Elinor Comlay in Mexico City; Editing by David Holmes and Maureen Bavdek)