Who is responsible for Police Atrocities?

Posted on June 30, 2010

Manali Misra:

According to the figures given by PTI, Uttar Pradesh has witnessed the largest number of Police atrocities in the past years. Delhi is on second place in the violation of human rights. But who is to be blamed for the atrocious behaviour of the Police – the Police officials or the Government? Let’s have a look at some of the factors which turn our protectors into perpetrators.

The salaries of Police Constables and other junior Police officials are meagre. Their living conditions are pathetic. In such a situation when they have to work for more than 12-14 hours a day, who would expect them to be calm and cool. Many are frustrated by their lives and hence the way to vent out their feelings is by ill-treating the public. The Police Department is understaffed and hence the officials are over-burdened. The other factor is the wide range of laws in India which make vices like liquor, gambling etc. a crime. Arresting for such issues does not decrease the crime instead gives way to corruption and bribery and when the Police is unable to collect the bribe money, they try to get it by force which results in the atrocity.

In the West, the Policemen are supervised by senior Police officers, elected persons like Governors, government lawyers, judges, and Jurors and Grand Jurors. Whereas in India, only senior officers, Ministers/MLAs and judges keep a check on the Police. There is no supervision by Jurors and Grand Jurors who are chosen from amongst the common men. Their tenure ends within a few days after a case so they empathise when a victim is ill-treated as tomorrow they too can be in the same situation. It is very easy for the Indian Policemen to influence their senior officials, ministers and judges. Jurors and the Grand Jurors in the West are the most helpful in reducing Police atrocities as no one can bribe them.

The reason is clear. When there is a proper system to supervise the Police, the Police can never be harsh on the public.

There are rampant reports of custodial killings. Once in Kerala, a private bus conductor of Pattimattom village was allegedly tortured to death in the police custody at Kunnathunadu police station for failing to pay a bribe of Rs 3,000 to the police officers. There was violence against women and children also.

People are querulous about the behaviour of the Police. But when the government is questioned, then except a polemic, nothing else can be gathered from the discussion. As a result, there is always a rancor felt by the public for the Police officials. Instead of constantly blaming the Police officials, some measures should be taken by the government to improve their conditions as well as the supervision process. They are elected to maintain law and order, let’s not mar their image by accusing them of something which is a ramification of negligence towards them.

image courtesy

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