Monday, February 25, 2013
To my mind, police is the most misunderstood function of the government in today’s India. Damned if we do and damned if we don’t. I must at this juncture mention that these are my private views. I am solely responsible for all the feelings my words evoke in you: bad, good or ugly. I am speaking from the point of view of all the upheaval in society that is visible today. The mass protests, the rise in crime, the intolerance, the corruption, the increasing chasm between the haves and the have nots: the list is endless. At no point I am saying the police is not to blame, but tell me honestly, what about the society at large. Crime and punishment are both functions of the same society. What are you protesting?? Do you even know what you stand for? Are you against the government? Are you against the mindset of the rapist or the abuser? Are you against the laws? Are you against yourself?? Are you against crime? What do you stand for? I fail to understand. There may be tough questions to answer. Today it seems like every one wants to break a law and do something illegal. All they want is to get away with it. Getting caught is the biggest problem. What is the difference between a youngster on a bike jumping the red light and a criminal dumping a murdered body on the highway?? They both want to get away with committing the crime. I am not comparing the severity of the crime or the harm that they have wreaked upon the society; but I am comparing the underlying similarity. Ponder upon another question if you will. What do you want the police to do, mean or be? This is an answer I want from all sections of the society. Politicians, students, housewives, activists, media et al. What do you want from the police? Want us to turn a blind eye to your riding without a helmet? Want us to arrest all the corrupt? Want us to enforce and uphold the law? Want us to allow you to vandalize government property? There is this popular refrain that is prevalent. That the police are corrupt; that the police are stooges of the ruling class; that the police are ineffective; that the police only pressurize the weak; that the police are criminals in uniform. Should the Union of India scrap the police altogether? Should we remove all laws?? If the police were so inefficient then how has the society functioned so far? I don’t mind being yelled at and pointed a finger to. I am after all a police officer. I have worn the uniform as a badge of my contribution to the society. I am doing the best I can; given the circumstances. It was evident to me long ago that as a cop, no matter what I do, I will never be liked by the society. Yet I chose to be here and to uphold the law because I believe without it there will be anarchy. I believe in strict implementation and I believe the Indian laws are adequate. I also believe that reforms are needed in the policing system of the country. I want dignity for each and every police man or police woman on the street. There are problems within and there are problems without. While on one side police will be revered only when the corrupt practices inside the police department are weeded out, on the other hand there needs to be a working interface of the community with the police and the policing system so that they understand what the police stands for and what are the constraints of the legal system within which the police has to operate. Tolerance on the whole of the misuse of power and money has to end. However with it needs to end the reliance on hooliganism and demands for street justice. Retribution and revenge are not the marks of a civilized society. Industriousness and probity are. There is no need to make every issue ‘police vs. people’. Police is not opposed to anything so long as it is legal. The police are there to facilitate safety and security of the people. That does not mean that there is a policeman with each and every citizen. It means the fear of the law will ensure that people do not commit heinous crimes on each other. If crime rates are increasing it means the society does not believe in the legal system. This is what needs to be addressed. The Police as part of the Criminal Justice System need to be sensitized to the needs of the society. The numbers in the force have to be in an adequate ratio with the population. Women in the police need as much protection as those without. While self reliance is the best solution, respect for the rights and privileges of all human beings is the important key. Perhaps that is what we have forgotten. While the media rakes up its TRP, we allow the travesty of social angst to reach our young who cannot seem to fathom the reasons as they are unclear to all. Women have been commodified. Police has been demonized. Politicians have been vilified. In the process we have forgotten what it means to be human.