In the same hall as Penguin and other publishing bigwigs,a small stall,set up by the Haryana Police Academy sits unruffled by the perplexed glances of passersby. In its second year,policemen from Haryana use this platform for empowering society to sensitise the police.
Vikash Narain Rai,a 1977-cadre IPS officer,is leading the effort. The police force needs to shed its colonial legacy and be more in tune with our democratic politics, he says.
Rai is the author of many small booklets such as Police and Civil Society,Third Degree Police that are available at nominal prices at the stall. The books have material from diverse sources stories by O Henry and Anton Chekhov and essays by literary heavyweights such as Mahasweta Devi.
When upgrading the police force,the emphasis is usually on technical knowledge, says Rai. This is as important to inculcate a sensitive approach towards citizens.
The Haryana Police Academy has also adopted a police station in Karnal district,comprising 27 villages. It has developed a community policing platform. Villagers are counseled about their rights and police trainees are made to understand the needs of the inhabitants.
Among other books,there is a small leaflet containing basic information on filing a First Information Report. ASI Radhe Shyam,an organiser,says,FIR is one of the tools through which the police bungle and mislead. It is important for citizens to be aware of their rights. At the stall,ASI Radhe Shyam insists you fill a questionnaire intended to reveal your outlook on women. He quick to pounce on any prejudices,and you are let go only after a bit of counselling.