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Lives Do Matter, Everywhere!

The Minnesota Fourth Judicial District Court recently convicted Police Officer Derek Michael Chauvin of the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020. Immediately after the incident, a video, showing the White Police Officer knelling on Floyd’s neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds after he was handcuffed, and lying face downs and calling out “I can’t breathe“, went viral. Not only did it shake the world, but also was instrumental in triggering the Black Lives Matter Movement in different parts of the globe.

Chauvin’s murder trial began on March 8, 2021 in the Court, and concluded on April 20 when the Jury found him guilty on three charges: second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. Following his conviction, Chauvin’s bail was revoked and he was booked into the Oak Park Heights maximum-security prison, awaiting sentencing on June 16. Floyd’s near and dear ones, common American people and even President Joe Biden have welcomed the verdict. Meanwhile, Vice President Kamala Harris has spoken out on Police Reform through the George Floyd Bill.

The George Floyd incident

The US has made tremendous efforts to ensure the Democratic and Constitutional Rights of its citizens for centuries. At the same time, it has failed to punish Police Officers who committed crimes. The Floyd Murder Trial shows that Racism has its roots even in the Police Administration in the US. Seen from that place, the trial of Chauvin can be considered as a call for the Police Department to be humane. The Judiciary not only wants the Department to change its mentality immediately, but also wants the Police Officers to respect the Human Rights. Hence, this verdict is a Historic one. The speedy trial is even more commendable, as 12 Juries took just 10 hours to convict Chauvin at the end of a three-week final trial. The sentence shall be announced in the next couple of months…

This trial has set an example for the entire world. The Media had covered the news, the Civil Society had taken a strong position, with many a debate subjected to the socio-political issues being held… in a way, everyone had contributed to Floyd’s case. However, the Judiciary has to ensure Justice at the end of the day. Citizens’ Right to Justice could only be guaranteed by ensuring a fair and speedy trial, and also by following the due process of law. The Minnesota Fourth Judicial District Court has done just that.

Derek Chauvin trial

This achievement of the US court has set an example for India, too. India is such a country where the Police Department feels proud of the achievements of Encounter Specialists! The number of deaths in police custody is constantly increasing in the South Asian nation, and the Indian Police Officers have been found to be influenced by Race, Caste, and Colour, apart from money, in many cases. Often, the Police Officers or influential persons get rid of the Judiciary even after committing crimes. In many cases, justice is denied due to the lengthy judicial process in India.

Among many such cases, one may recall the Hashimpura incident in northern Indian Province of Uttar Pradesh, where Justice was served after 31 years! On October 31, 2018, the Delhi High Court sentenced 16 former personnel of the Uttar Pradesh Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) to life imprisonment for abducting and shooting 38 people dead, all of whom were Muslims, at Hashimpura in Meerut in 1987. On May 22, 1987, the northern Indian city of Meerut was engulfed in communal violence over the demolition of Babri Mosque dispute in Ayodhya. The PAC and the Army launched a search operation at Hashimpura, after two rifles belonging to the PAC personnel were allegedly looted by “anti-social” elements and a relative of an Army officer was killed near the area. On November 3, 2018, The Hindu daily reported that the PAC had rounded up 42-45 men, young and old, on May 22, 1987. Then, the PAC had packed them into a yellow-coloured truck, and had driven them away. Instead of taking them to the police station, they were taken to a canal near Ghaziabad. The PAC personnel, then, shot those men dead with their .303 rifles and dumped some of the bodies into the Gang Nahar (Canal) and the rest into Hindon River. Thirty-eight perished. Most bodies were never found. Only 11 bodies were identified by their relatives. However, five managed to survive the shooting, pretending to be dead, and swam through the water-bodies. Later, the case was built on their testimonies, as they recounted their horrific experience…

Residents of a locality in curfew-bound Meerut pleading with policemen on May 19, 1987

It would be a pity for the Indian Judiciary, if a lesson is not learnt from the Floyd Murder Case.

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