GENERIC PERCEPTION ABOUT POLICE IN INDIA, ESPECIALLY OUTSIDE ITS METRO CITIES!

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 action.

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 happens.

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.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

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