Its master’s police

A state driven by a hard definitive set of ideas, dividing people into “us” and “them”, presents problems for policing. Party ideology vies with the constitution and our laws in getting “results”.

Written by Keki N. Daruwalla | Updated: June 20, 2017 12:29 am
Police, indian police, judiciary, civil service, law, freedom of expression, religious tolerance, indian police officer, police officer, indian express columns The police is out, in the rain and burning sun, the whole day. It is under-staffed. A three million police and para-military is staffed by 3,500 IPS officers. (Illustration: C R Sasikumar)

Most countries have a nebulous national objective pegged to an era. I remember ours in the Fifties, worked into our Constitution. Non-violence, togetherness of communities, industrialisation and socialism were the watchwords. Five Year Plans were the panacea dangled before us; they certainly helped, though we had to rely on PL 480 doles from America, even as we continued with our fulminations against the “Foreign Hand” (read CIA). Like today, there was much pro-poor talk, although the socialist economy had an empty tank (and socialism saw to it that it remained empty) for anything much to dribble down to the poor.

Indira Gandhi wanted loyalty (personal, if you please) and a committed judiciary and civil service. But could any of this be classed as ideology? Ideology as a term was born during the guillotine terror of the French Revolution, and was first coined by Antoine Destutt de Tracy in 1796. He thought of ideology as a system of rational thought as opposed to mob impulses. Today, a cynic might say that “ideology” is precisely the current that sparks off mob impulses.

Today, the ideas of the Hindu Right affect political reality and discourse. Though not codified, they boil down to (a) primacy of the nation and its worship; (b) a fear of demographic imbalance in the future since Muslims are producing more children; (c) those slaughtering cows and unwilling to sing Vande Mataram are anti-national; (d) Christians are converting people through inducements and false promises. This must be stopped through anti-conversion laws and a zealous police. Underlying this are beliefs that we were a great nation once, leading to embarrassing aberrations like tom-toming the “glories” of Vedic science.

A state driven by a hard definitive set of ideas, dividing people into “us” and “them”, presents problems for policing. Party ideology vies with the constitution and our laws in getting “results”. The police is sworn to loyalty to the constitution and upholding laws impartially. Regrettably, it looks up to its political masters before acting — witness its inactivity in the 1984 riots in Delhi and Haryana and its role in Gujarat in 2002. What justice does a common anonymous citizen expect from such a police? How do police station officers react to reports of a man consuming beef? No politico asked anti-Romeo squads to bash people up, but in their zeal to serve their masters, they shaved the heads of “suspects”. None of this is sanctioned by law.

A partial officer in sales tax or excise cannot harm citizens. A partial police officer can throw the law book on you and send you to jail. A rogue policeman is a danger to society. A Mumbai prosecutor of repute complained that she was asked to go slow on a case against terrorists involved in the Malegaon blast case. The suspect sadhvi is out on bail. Some months ago, eight undertrial prisoners, all unarmed, escaping from a Bhopal jail, were gunned down in daylight. Despite the media outcry, the chief minister held a reception for the police team. In the Akhlaq murder case in Uttar Pradesh, one of the accused died in jail. The parents refused to cremate him. The family was given Rs 25 lakh, according to press reports. Has this ever happened, a murder-accused’s family being given money? And how much was given to Akhlaq’s family?

In the Alwar murder on April 1, when a cattle transporter was killed by a lynch mob on the highway, the young greenhorn SP of Alwar said on TV that the people assaulted were cattle smugglers. The next day, it was proved they were dairy farmers. The first impulse of the police is to spring to the defence of the assailants. Nothing could be worse for police morale and ethics than to watch lynch mobs burn shops, beat up people and do nothing.

In Gujarat, the Supreme Court had to intervene to see to it that the DGP, P.P. Pande, was not given any further extensions since his name had got associated with notorious fake encounters. The constabulary are no fools. They are watching all this — different rules for different people, and carte blanche for standing by and merely watching lynchings or burning of meat shops.

Policing, especially in controversial cases, is in a mess, left behind by the zero-action UPA. We have many para-military forces. Now, we have many investigating agencies — NIA, CBI, ATS of various states, regular police and CID. In the Malegaon blast case, there were three agencies, each with its own chargesheet, each arraigning a different bunch of accused. This is burlesque; comedians should get into the act. The NIA told us unofficially in the Minorities Commission that the Muslim accused were innocent.

It took another three years for them to be declared innocent, after years in jail. This case deserves research. It was during the “secular” UPA government that innocent Muslims were indicted in bomb blast cases, where the blasts killed Muslims. Now, the “ideology-driven state” is seeing to it that Hindu accused get away lightly. Police needs to uphold the freedom of expression and religious tolerance. Young recruits need to be told that they have nothing to do with the ideologies of ruling parties. Running down rapists, murderers and kidnappers is more important than pleasing rightist ideologues.

The police is out, in the rain and burning sun, the whole day. It is under-staffed. A three million police and para-military is staffed by 3,500 IPS officers. This newspaper carried a report which revealed that in the Badgaon police station in Saharanpur, where Dalits and Thakurs clashed, only 22 posts out of a sanctioned strength of 111 had been filled. There was only one head constable while 17 posts had been sanctioned.

Now comes news that DGP UP, Sulkhan Singh, has ordered the National Security Act be invoked against those accused of “cow slaughter and trafficking”. I hope someone files a PIL. I have never heard anything more absurd, and so drenched with sycophancy. This is what I meant by loyalty to party ideology, rather than the law of the land.

The writer, a poet and short story writer, was a member of the National Commission for Minorities

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    Anil Bharali
    Jun 21, 2017 at 4:34 am
    It is an article primarily with support to colonial politics of religious divide to encourage Hindu majority nation after introducing self rule under Westminster type Democracy in India to keep Muslim away to demand Indian back from Britain if had had to leave India. So "Gumata" perception was develop Majoritian felling amongst Hindu community to combat Muslims desire to demand back from British Raj. Hindu Maha sabha is product of it and dominated by Congress members. It is colonial politics introduced into Indian population
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      rishi
      Jun 21, 2017 at 3:04 am
      what an absurd allegation the writer makes against a demographically righteous state which is certainly not in the businesss of "us and them" by any measure of governance that was introduced in the Nation in Vajpayee's premiership and has now been fully implemented by Team-Modi.......the only two time that Governance was visible ......at all other times (65yrs!) there was no governance ....only politics of greed and corruption that divided the Nation into the "ruling elite and the rest of us"....... In NDA's remarkably clean and honest fully-functional governance , it is for the first time we see " a fully inclusive 'us' ".......sab ka saath, sab ka vikas.......demonetisation as a means to check black-money and corruption was the perfect example of citizen-government joint parti tion where both, the people and state-functionaries were equal stakeholders in the event of the parallel economy getting the jolt that it did apart from the check on the terrorist-funding angle too.
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        sunny
        Jun 21, 2017 at 4:30 am
        Sir You may be aware Police is completely under State control. In our country many States is being ruled by BJP and other party for decades. So simply blame congress misrule for 65 Years---. Now technology is so advanced and any mis deeds are aired in seconds, still police is serving there masters loyally is a fact. I am not against BJP, but what happened to public beating dailats for skinning a dead cow
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        The Heretic
        Jun 21, 2017 at 1:19 am
        News for foreign -funded Chrislamists like Anthony - Your days of single-handedly ruling over India are over. India doesn't need the police. Indian people will rise up against you if you don't give up your mentality of being born rulers simply because you believe in Chrislamic claptrap.
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          Antony
          Jun 21, 2017 at 2:17 am
          you paid gober eating sanghi ! have courage to use your own name ! cowards ! yes all sane indian people will rise against taliban sanghi like you and destroy your terror head quarters in nagpur!
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            rishi
            Jun 21, 2017 at 3:08 am
            watch out, Antony....one Modi has irked you so much......there are a billion-modis on the rise .....we're talking business.....a demographically righteous state is above all reproach .....and challenge !
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              The Heretic
              Jun 21, 2017 at 5:03 am
              Take it easy, Chrislamist. A person who betrays his own nation for a few cheap morsels thrown by outsider evangelist crooks and other anti-nationals is worse than gober (which, unlike Chrislamists, has much use). Be thankful you have gotten away with your hatred for India for so long.
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            Antony
            Jun 20, 2017 at 11:53 pm
            The paid RSS stooges like Ak dev is not realizing that the communal snakes they let out now will one day bite them back. porkistan raised the terrorists hoping to bite india but ended up in daily attack on them only. now sanghi police is completely side with the attackers and lynching mobs in BJP ruled north indian states. minorities and dalits are living in fear there. but there is a limit for everything ! sanghis cannot afford to create 400 million anti nationals by their weird laws and terrorism !soon there will be a organized retaliation or guerilla warfare same like maoist and nagas where indian state couldnt control even after using its all might. nobody wants to live like a second class citizen in his own country just because he dont believe in eating gober or drinking gau mutra like the illiterate north indian sanghis does! hope sense will prevail on illiterate chaddis who is bent on disintegrating our country!
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              rishi
              Jun 21, 2017 at 3:13 am
              the other 900million will take care of the Nation......a demographically-righteous state is the order of the day ......colonialism and its proxies have had their day !
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                rishi
                Jun 21, 2017 at 3:38 am
                christians and muslims went around the world.....to conquer alien lands ......being expansionist and therefore invasive as manifestations of their very dna duly exposed historically in their 'colonising nations with people like you and your ilk being the clearly visible 'victims '........contrast this to the highly self-sufficient and self-fulfilment -driven hindus who too went around the world .....but only in quest for knowledge and wisdom from people of other lands.......there lies the beauty of the civilised people of this region who are neither expansive, nor invasive by conscious restraining of their greed and desires. Check out where you stand.....visible victim of colonial influence.......part of the shameless brigade where everyone from the peon to the president shamelessly driven by greed and corruption shamelessly ended up doing " jee hujoori" to an italian housewife in an environment of "(corruption)chalta hai" culture perpetrated by them all which led to their disgrace.
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                  rddy
                  Jun 21, 2017 at 9:04 am
                  Antony , you guys boasted sane dialogues during creation of porkistan , you know very well how Christine's are living in porkistan , if you won't change your ways then you will be kicked to porkistan , enjoy there , your time is over , numbered , remember it is going to happen in 39 years
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                  Employ Ment
                  Jun 20, 2017 at 9:33 pm
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                  Reply
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                    Munna Mama
                    Jun 20, 2017 at 8:36 pm
                    Just reads like a summary of all hue and cry raised by the elite dispossessed in 2014. Propaganda needs repe ion and Mr. Daruwala has done his duty.
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                      Seshubabu Kilambi
                      Jun 20, 2017 at 7:52 pm
                      The police force has become political force for harassing common oeople
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                        Arvind
                        Jun 20, 2017 at 7:08 pm
                        The incompetence, corruption, lack of training, ability to serve the citizens of India and above all the worst leadership of the IPS cadre is the real problem with the police and the lack of enforcement of the civil rights of the people of India. Ideology is secondary to a dysfunctional and unprofessional police force. We cannot even enforce traffic sanity what to talk about catching criminals.
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