Why there still exists a sense of trepidation towards our policemen? Why are we scared to approach them? Are they the legal goons in Khaki? These are questions that have always surfaced the Indian police administration time and again; the recent incident to add fuel to the fire is Raj Bala’s death who succumbed to the serious injuries, a Ramlila Maidan lathicharge victim.
The 51-year-old woman was injured in the police crackdown on the yoga guru’s anti-corruption gathering in June this year. Rajbala was admitted at the capital’s GB Pant Hospital for the last few months. Senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj attended the funeral of Raj Bala. Swaraj tweeted, “After battling between life and death for 15 weeks, Raj Bala died. It is a sad commentary on our Police functioning.”
Pune farmer firing
This is not the only incident where the Khaki people have been responsible for claiming innocent lives, the recent attack on Pune farmers was a shame on the whole governance administration. Thousands of farmers had blocked the Mumbai-Pune expressway to protest against an underground water pipeline project that will divert water from the Pawna dam to the Pimpri-Chinchwad Township. Shocking video footage of alleged police excesses during the farmers’ agitation on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway came to the fore where two cops were seen firing at fleeing farmers, killing three protesting farmers on the spot. Later Police Inspector Ashok Patil, Sub-Inspector Ganesh Mane were suspended and six policemen had been suspended for damaging cars. Rahul Gandhi termed as “wrong” the police firing on agitating farmers in Mawal in Pune district as he visited the families of those killed in the incident and joined a prayer meeting.
However, for the politicians it was again a good opportunity to lash out on the ruling party and a new political agenda; the National Democratic Alliance crippled the functioning of Parliament demanding the dismissal of the Union Home Minister and the Maharashtra government over the police action in Pune.
The Gujarat police remained silent spectators during the famous violent riots of 2002 when the unfortunate incident of the burning of the bogies of Sabarmati Express on February 27 sparked a wave of Hindu-Muslim riots in the State. The police were hushed even when a building opposite the Commissioner’s office was burned and former Congress Member of Parliament, Eshan Jaffri, a Muslim, was burned alive along with his family. Reportedly, police sources admitted that he made various calls to the police informing them about the danger and asked for help, but the police turned a blind eye. The irresponsible attitude of the police and State government has been criticised by Indian Opposition parties and human rights organisations.
However huge political nexus has been a problem for some policemen to play honest and this is a prima facie in Modi’s case. When a senior police officer Sanjiv Bhatt implicated Chief Minister Narendra Modi in the communal riots in 2002 he was suspended right away.
Sanjiv Bhatt was posted in the Intelligence Department when India saw its worst communal riots since the partition. In an affidavit submitted to the Supreme Court, Bhatt said that he attended a meeting on February 27, 2002 after the Godhra train burning incident where Modi asked police officers to be “indifferent” to rioters.
The Congress and the Left parties condemned the Gujarat government’s action of suspending two police officials, who provided evidence against Chief Minister Narendra Modi about the handling of the 2002 communal riots.
Other miscellaneous cases around India
On 25th August 2011, an 18 year old girl was detained on suspicion of the murder of her 15 year old lover, was raped by some unnamed policemen. The police station chief has been suspended for dereliction of duty, by not having female constables present while a woman is in remand.
Siyaram succumbed to his injuries on the way to the hospital. The two offending police constables have been arrested, suspended and booked for murder.
On 17th September 2011 Govind Rajdhar 22, of Bihar, was detained by police on suspicion of robbery. The man died while in custody.
His family and others protested in the streets saying Govind was badly beaten and tortured during interrogation and succumbed to his injuries.
India has innumerable such incidents where the men in khaki has put us to shame and doubt. Where the problem lies? Is the high profile politics responsible? Are our politicians suppressing the minimum number of honest policemen also? Or it is the recruiting system that is the root cause of all? Or the pay structure, the model of power associated with it makes the cops corrupt? These are questions that our system and higher officials needs to address soon to create an orderly state.
- India Ink: Modi: Metamorphosis or Albatross? (india.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Muslim community not ready to forgive Narendra Modi for 2002 riots (newhomeland.wordpress.com)
- 69 people were killed in Gulberg Society during Gujarat riots (newhomeland.wordpress.com)
- Three die in India land protest (bbc.co.uk)
- Narendra Modi announces Sadbhavana Mission beyond fast …. (offstumped.in)
- Three killed in Pune police shooting. (birminghamurbannews.wordpress.com)