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!


Shankar said...

hello.. This is shankar. I welcome you to my site "BALLAT". Thnx for commenting.Nice to see a political blog.. I like the picture stating ur dream. absolutely brilliant. But I find everyone writing the same about attack of Indians on other countries. I found nothing about attack of foreigners in our own country.. added ur blog to my blog list..hope u dont mind it..

Shree Venkatram said...

There have been many cases of foreigners being raped that I was planning a post and found that you had done one!
The above post deals with only our cops, who have a terrible record on this front.
The rape of the foreign women is a real shame. I like the message being given out by the Amir Khan's ad on the issue of molestation and harassment of tourists to India.
India is very unsafe for women travelling alone.

Shree Venkatram said...

Thank you for adding my blog to your blog list. I am happy you liked my dream!

srinath said...

good one... i guess yourself and myself would share a lot in common... i look forward to seeing a corrupt free india and a clean india....

but as a famous saying goes... "CHARITY BEGINS AT HOME"... i believe citizens should first correct themselves and then look forward to hoping the law makers being dutiful.

Shree Venkatram said...

You are right. If we didn't pay bribes, there would be no corrupt officers!
I feel Indians have to be more demanding of leaders and their bureaucrats. We are trampled upon, taken for granted.
Adulterated food... no action taken.
Shoddy medical one is held responsible.
Crumbling public facilities, but our leaders would rather build statutes of themselves...
It goes on.

srinath said...

so what do u think about all this?? u just want to write about all this and leave it and r u planning to go to the next stage and maybe even start a revolution or at least be a part of one?

Shree Venkatram said...

Of course, I want to do something about it!
My organisation Unnati Features along with Women's Feature Service has come up with a project to hold our elected representatives accountable. I will be posting details of the project on this site in a couple of days.
We are looking for like-minded organisations and individuals to partner with us.
We are keen to build a youth network... You are welcome to join and spread the word. Yes, let us do something more than just write. Please see my post - "Want to work for a better India?"

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