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Indian police force – its reputation now in tatters, and yet no reform ..




If you want to read about police reform, you will find an incredible number of articles available on the internet which talk about a case where the Supreme Court asked all the states and the central Government to implement a series of reforms for the police. The Indian police force acts on the basis of guidelines that were originally drawn up during the time of the British, and they were meant more for the control of Indians rather than acting as a police force that in addition to stopping crime also acts as an implementer of the force of law in society, as an instrument of justice. However, at the same time, it is accepted knowledge that political parties wield power on the basis of their control of the bureaucracy and the police force, in fact, more so, the police force. In rural and poorer parts of the country, the police is seen as a force of oppression, one that supports the ruling minority comprising local rich people, and not one that helps the poor. In fact, the policy mis-implementation by the local bureaucracy and the police force is responsible for a large portion of the detachment that has helped breed support for insurrections such as the Maoist ones.
But, things are getting highlighted much more in recent times. With the media constantly looking for stories that bring out controversy, oppression conducted by the police gets highlighted from time to time. Further, higher levels of education even among people in rural communities and their knowledge about how to initiate the process of highlighting these cases is causing some over-turning of the powers that are traditionally misused by the police. And one more nail in this coffin is the action of courts to start highlighting such cases and passing strictures against the police. Just a couple of weeks ago, there was a case where there was a video recording of police committing atrocities against a family who had come to report misbehavior against them by some truckers. The video showed the police assaulting the family who had gone to them to report a complaint, with the assault even against women. And when this video was highlighted in the media, the police had the dumbness to claim that they had to commit this assault since the complaining family had gone out of control. There was a magistrate who filed a report justifying the police action, and the report and the police action were both condemned in harsh terms by the courts, with the Supreme Court condemning the magistrate report as trash, worth throwing in the dustbin.
Out of the states where the police is most vilified, Uttar Pradesh is one of the most famous. The police there are famous for being corrupt, for supporting the rich and mighty, for being communal, and for acting as mighty arrogant oppressors, especially against the poor. The police do come up with Public relations measures to improve their image, but these are just for public dressing; unless their training and their basic nature is changed, the police will continue to have one of the worst images in the country. In some cases, their actions cannot be justified by any means, especially when it concerns heinous crimes against women. The December Delhi rape case showed anger against crimes that happen against women, and this should have shown to Governments and the police that there is an anger in society; and yet it seems that nothing has been learned.
Consider the merits of the case. A young girl is raped, a heinous crime, and the family of the victims are threatened by the offenders. And the police try to act as mediators (even more horrific, female police officers are also involved in this), and most horribly, the young girl was detained in the police lock-up for the night, finally getting released when footage of the incident was shown to senior police officers and they realized the beating they would get on the media and the battering this would have given to the image of the Akhilesh Government (link to article):

The Supreme Court on Wednesday took suo motu cognizance of a Bulandsahr incident in which a rape victim and her mother were locked up by police for wanting to register complaint about the sexual assault. The apex court issued a notice to the UP government seeking its response by Monday. Desperately looking for an image makeover, the Uttar Pradesh Police suffered a major setback when a 10-year-old who was allegedly raped was thrown into a lockup in Bulandshahr. The officers responsible have been punished, police said.
The incident took place on Monday when a minor girl went with her mother to a women’s police station to lodge a rape complaint against a 24-year-old. But instead of addressing the concerns of the distraught woman and her daughter, the women officers abused and shooed away the mother while detaining the girl in the lock up, police said.




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