Updated: June 14, 2020 11:42:46 am
APPALLED OVER the use of the term “negro” in reference to an African national in a drugs case, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the police to refrain from using the “unprintable word” in any of its documents related to the investigation.
The court has also requested the Punjab DGP to take into consideration the entire issue and notify the police force to never use such offensive terms in the near future.
“They deserve the dignity and respect in a foreign land as visitors or students in India from Africa, temporarily living in our country, which prides itself of many peoples of all colours of the skin ranging from white to black and aboriginal. This has nothing to do with the investigation or crime,” the order passed by Justice Rajiv Narain Raina read. The HC passed the order on June 12 while hearing the bail petition of a local accused in the case.
The term “nigro (as written in the order)” was used by the police in the challan papers presented before a trial court in Jalandhar in a case registered in December 2019. As per the FIR registered at Police Station Maqsudan, the accused persons were found to be in possession of 500 grams of heroin.
Justice Raina termed the police move as “terrible thinking” and said that the cops appeared to have assumed that “every black” person is a drug peddler and should be treated likewise.
The single bench, in the order, added that the investigating officers and police officials registering the FIRs need to be immediately sensitized and must ensure that no person is looked down upon on the basis of the color of their skin.
“All Africans are our friends and when they come to India, either as visitors or students, they are our valuable guests and we should be reminded that India is rich in its traditions of ‘mehman nawazi’ and ‘attithi sanskar/satkar’ and prides itself on this. They should simply be referred to by the country of their origin in case papers,” the order stated.
We are “professedly” a tolerant sub-continent of “browns in all its shades” but more often than not display “a perverted and primitive mind-set looking down on others without looking within ourselves”, Justice Raina noted.
“For many centuries we have been slaves, Freedom does not lend its wings to our countrymen to fly anywhere they wish and in any manner they like and abuse foreigners on the street calling them ‘kalla’. To the contrary, freedom teaches love for human dignity and respect for fellowmen,” he added.
The court also sought to know the state government’s proposed action against the cops who indulged in “character assassination” based on physical features.
“This is socially unacceptable but what can one expect from an uneducated and insensitive constabulary, as in this case. The pernicious practice should be stopped forthwith and the police commanded on pain of disciplinary action never to address anyone by that description, forget about writing it down in official papers of permanent State record,” the order read.
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