Thursday, 25 June 2009

Cops as criminals

Another of my favourite topics - of the way we train our police. Looking at how they behave with the public, their training needs to be overhauled.

Time and again we come across cases where the police become perpetrators of crime. The police record of the way they deal with women is terrible, and downright atrocious if they happen to be poor and illiterate.. Apart from being brutal, as noted in an earlier post, there have been cases of the police resorting to sexual harassment and even rape. The police stations in India are the most women unfriendly places. Women are reluctant to walk into police stations to seek help or lodge a complaint. For the demeanor and the manner in which the policemen in India behave with women is downright crude (for want of a more apt word).

Last week, on June 18 we learnt of how two policemen threw a pregnant woman and her three-year-old daughter off the running Mailani-Gonda passenger train near Lucknow, after she and her husband refused to bribe them for travelling without a ticket. The woman came under the wheels of the train and died. The little girl miraculously escaped.

The public is so fed up with the high handed ways of the police force that neighbours and relatives of the couple caught hold of the two cops and beat them up mercilessly. They are said to have suffered multiple injuries and had to be admitted to hospital.

Our police trainers need to pay particular attention to the manner in which uniformed men should interact with the public. They need lessons on how to deal with law breakers, especially women, in a firm manner without getting physical. Some years ago I saw the police conduct a raid on a brothel on Brigade Road in Bangalore. The manner in which they were pulling out the sex workers from a building and pushing them into the police van was a terrible sight indeed. Most of the women appeared to be in their mid teens and with the brutal handling their clothes were torn. Some of them could not even cover themselves up properly. The policemen were dragging them by their hair, hitting them with lathis and shepherding them into the van while shouting filthy expletives. As happens in India a huge crowd had gathered to see what was going on and all the women looked really frigthened. They were facing a public humiliation of the worst kind. It doesn't need much imagination to know that the ordeal of these women would have continued into the police station.

Every other day, there are cases of women being raped by the police or security personnel. Increasingly one is seeing the public hit back, in the form of protests and demonstrations, so fed up are they of the way the men who should be protecting turn aggressors.

Look what happened in Kashmir following the rape and murder of two women in Shopian district allegedly by security forces.

In Bhopal recently, a 48-year-old woman, arrested in connection with a dowry case, alleged that four policemen raped her inside a police station in Betul district. The woman said she was forced to spend the night in the Amla police station because the police told her it was too late to go to Betul, after a court sent her to judicial custody. The victim alleged that the cops were drunk and had raped her at night. The next morning when she was taken to the Betul jail, she told the jailer about the incident. Her statement was recorded.

Probably, the cops think the women they harass won't complain and that emboldens them. Recently, sons of two policemen in Gujarat were apprehended for raping a teenage girl. The public thrashed the alleged culprits when they were brought to the hospital for a medical examination. While the crowd that thrashed them consisted mainly of men, one could see some women vent their anger against the culprits.

But the biggest shocker was yet to come. There is reason to believe that the culprits were involved in at least seven cases of rape, including one of a mentally challenged girl. The investigators have recovered clippings of the gangrapes from their phones and laptops. After all these alleged culprits are the sons of policemen!

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Advice for Indian students going to Australia

The attacks on Indian students in Australia go on unabated. Today, Hardik Bipinbhai Patel, a commercial cookery student at Melbourne University, was attacked and robbed. A group of Sri Lankans were attacked in Canberra. Yesterday, a student was beaten up in a mall in Adelaide.

By the Australian police own admission, there have been 1447 reported attacks on Indians last year. This year, the number is all set to rise. For finally, the Indians are reporting the attacks, which they might not have earlier.

Meanwhile the Indian government has come up with an advisory. It gives the Indian students some tips, which are reproduced here --

Before leaving for Australia
  • Be fully informed of all actual costs involved, as also of relevant rules governing work, housing and other aspects of living in Australia. You are strongly advised to do adequate research.
  • Study the official website of the Government of Australia for international students.
  • Make sure institution offering the course has good reputation, especially if it is private.
  • Go through website of educational institution and cross check if needed with the Education Officer at the Australian High Commission in Delhi or consulates in Mumbai and Chennai.
  • Make sure you have written agreement from the institution before paying any fees. This will be especially helpful in settling disputes if any.
After you arrive in Australia
  • Please register with Indian High Commission / Consulate as soon as possible.
  • Familiarise yourself with the student services offered by your educational institution, such as counselling services, help in finding suitable accommodation and jobs, assistance in improving your English etc.
  • Whatever accommodation you choose, remember it is your responsibility to maintain it and keep it clean.
  • Seek details about the security situation in and around your university and place of stay, as well as, local policing arrangements from the university authorities.
  • You should also contact local Indian associations and keep in touch with them.
The government means well. But these guidelines are not going to stop the attacks. One of the reasons we learn Indians are being attacked is because they are considered "passive", easy targets. They are not being attacked because their houses are not clean. The problem lies with the Australian society and is best tackled from their end.

The only advice to students still contemplating admission in a univeristy in Australia -- Get admission into a good university and stay on the campus. If you cannot, stay away from Australia. You will save your parents many sleepless, stomach churning nights and lakhs of rupees.

To read more on the subject -

Further developments

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

A mother-daughter relationship

CNN has a very touching story on how a woman in Tel Aviv, Israel, decided to give a new mattress to her mother as a surprise present, and threw out her old tattered mattress. When the mother realised what the daughter had done, which was the following morning, she told her that the old mattress that she had been using for decades contained over one million dollars - her entire life's savings. The daughter ran downstairs to find that the mattress had been taken away. The mother than told the daughter to "leave it".

This mother is truly admirable. She tells her daughter to 'leave it'. Forget it, in other words. The daughter must have been feeling so miserable. And the mother's response was keeping her daughter's feelings in mind. She did not want her to feel bad about it - so like a mother.

The report had me thinking. Would an Indian mother have responded the same way? Indian mothers undergo great sacrifices for their children. I feel an Indian woman could possibly respond in a similar way if it had been a son. But if it had been a daughter? What do you think?

The Israel mother explained her reaction as, "the heart is crying, but we could have been in a car accident or had terminal disease."

Do you think that her response is conditioned by the violence in the region?

I hope they find the mattress.

The incident also shows that all good intentions and deeds do not necessarily benefit the person for whom they are intended or done.
Visit to discover Indian blogs
My Blog Directory