Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The police and the common man?

The police and the common man? –Col. RD Singh
31 October 2012
Pictures and Videos: Amar Singh Jyani, GS Mann (Watch the embedded Video)
The recent spate of rape cases in Haryana, the ugly spat between the Punjab police chief and Capt Amrinder Singh, and Chandigarh SP caught red handed taking a bribe of one lac from a SHO, have again focused our attention on the declining state of the police force, and its politicization  The common man is losing faith in the force.  It is seen that the rich pay the police and get away. Where does the poor man go, when he is wronged?  He dreads to go to a police station as he has no faith.  He knows that first thing that the police man on duty will do is to talk rudely, perhaps slap him, make him wait endlessly, and then harass him for a bribe even to nab the culprits. If the culprits are caught, the police will make money from them also. What to talk of poor people, even educated people think twice before approaching the police. Some time back, there was a theft in a widow’s house in our area.  She complained to the police. The thief was not caught, but her life was made miserable. The police men would come to her house under the pretext of gathering details, plonk themselves, and demand ‘chai- pani’.  She got fed up. Thereafter, she never went near a police station, and rather approached a retired army officer who was her neighbor, for help.
I have horrifying memories of the police in my village when I was a young boy. The ‘thanedar’ would come to the village, tie up the suspected people to a tree, at will, and thrash them with a stick in full glare of the public. Then they would round up the cattle, and take these to the police station, depriving the family of livelihood. That was the British legacy of tyranny.  I thought, some day, things will improve. Not much has changed in terms of ruthlessness, corruption, and credibility of the police. Today, it is not only corrupt and ill trained, but highly politicised.  The Supreme Court’s long pending recommendations on police reforms be damned, as far as the politicians are concerned as it does not suit them.
Yes, the police has improved in terms of IT, and modern equipment, but the mind set remains the same. The first thing that a new CM of any state does is to appoint police chief of his choice, and thereafter use the state police to further his political agendas. The police also toe the line, as it helps them to make money, and wield undue authority in the name of the ruling politicians. The common man may have to run from pillar to post to file an FIR, but a large police force remains at the beck and call of VIPs. That makes the police not only corrupt but also results in neglect of their basic policing duties. So, you have crimes of all kinds galore.
The police is meant for the public and not politicians. The IPS officers have to give a lead, awaken their conscience, and stop being a stooge of political leaders. They are a chosen few and must live up to the esteemed name of the Indian police service.  What will happen – transfers, no ill gotten money?  Once they set a personal example of professional honesty, the other police men will follow. They must also improve their training and remain physically fit. Once they do it, their self esteem will improve, and the  police reforms would have begun by their very actions of propriety. Remember, a police man is also in uniform. He must keep its dignity. He can do it if he places people before self. Let’s see a change in the police for the ‘aam admi’, for a happy and healthy society.

Colonel R D Singh ( retd)
Ambala Cantt – 133001

Colonel R D Singh, a star blood donor, and a decorated soldier, belongs to Village Pilimandori (now in Distt. Fatehabad). He is also a life member of INTACH, and his entire family believes in giving back to the society.  Wife is a senior teacher in the Army Public School, daughter (LLM topper from the DU Law Faculty) is a member of the Delhi Bar Association, recently married to an IIT, IIM fine young man. son, is a young Lieutenant in Army (third generation).  Col. Ripu Daman Singh writes regularly for news papers, and The Sirsa News.

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