We were rightly outraged on the
Mumbai incident where cops in a police station were seen badly thrashing a
couple - the girl and boy who were let off later without any charge or penal
In fact, we need to be sensitive enough
to feel outraged on every such incident and we need to express it.
The only thing that it seldom
And it answers why people in
India fear police. Why they avoid going to police as far as they can -
approaching the 'keepers of the law' only in extreme cases.
And if it is so, it is for a
reason that is now ingrained in our day to day lives.
Just walk out of metro cities or
some big cities with big media concentration, and it is a hinterland all around
where mention of police instils as much fear (or indifference) in personal live
as intrusion by other undesired elements.
The overall image of a policeman
has become that of a corrupt government official who is grossly insensitive to
human pain and emotion, who can easily break law in the name of maintaining
law, who can extort money in the name of weeding out problems and would go to
any extent if he is not paid his demanded sum, who, by all possibilities, will assault
his subjects, especially if they are from the weaker sections - a man who sees
his personal interests and gains first.
Yes, there are exceptions. Yes,
there are many good policemen. But they are in minority.
I have seen three decades of my
life and I have grown up hearing tales of police stations and police beats on
sale - that this particular beat or police station was lucrative for under-the-table
money or convenience fee (or extortion fee) it generated every day - that
police used to kill criminals and at times innocent people in fake encounter
cases - that police raids on habitual bootleggers and offenders usually used to
happen whenever police did not receive its share.
Such 'experiential stories' are
galore - not from any particular part of India - but from across the country -
especially in India outside its metro cities - giving rise to 'experiential
observations' like 'a gentleman should keep away from police, except in extreme
cases, the events that everyone prays he or she should not come across'.
Now, what happened in this
Andheri Police Station case of Mumbai. Some policemen, in the full glare of
their uniform, thrashed a boy and a girl whom they allege were drunk and quarrelling.
The incident was caught on camera and
the video clip went viral. And it was not the first time. We regularly come
across such incidents and video clips of police atrocities going viral.
But what about incidents of
police atrocity outside metro India or its significant urban clusters?
That generic perception of
police, as written above, is still very strong with no signs of letdown. And
here we need to keep this in mind that the police officials who serve in metro
cities, have experience of serving in other cities as well, as transfers are
routine. So, a police official may be transferred to a metro city but what about
his mindset? He still has that mindset that makes him the master of his
subjects - the Indians staying in other parts of the country.