Long time back I watched a movie titled Ardh Satya. In the movie, a police officer, played by late Om Puri, arrested a few local area goons. Officer was asked to visit home of local politician, played by Sadashiv Amrapurkar. Politician also happened to be local area don. Arrested goons were his men. In don’s home, police officer is made to stand, a deliberate point to emphasise who is the boss, while the don drank and gambled in a card game. Finally, the don simply ordered the officer to release his men. Once officer resisted, politician phoned his boss and handed over the receiver to officer. For a young mind like me and many others like me, that was the first experience, albeit in a movie, of emasculation of police by politicians.
Many stories of deliberate emasculation of police force have come into light. In many Indian states, members of ruling party, their kith and kin play roughshod over police officers. A police officer can be transferred for doing his or her duty. Police officer can be gunned down in full public view. Gangster would be shielded by politicians. A police officer can be chided and humiliated in public. Police men and women are often asked to go easy on criminals. Arresting a criminal may lead to loss of vote to ruling party. Never mind criminal may go around and kill police man and his family members.
Men and women in police uniform have learnt to be obsequious to politicians of all hue. Rampant interference had demoralised police officers at ground level. Police avoid arresting criminals. Legitimate police work cannot be done unless a complainant can flaunt political connection. In many places, a position in police constabulary can be bought. Highest bidder recovers his money from common public. A first information report cannot be filed without bribing policeman on duty.
We have always heard how members of political class bully men in uniform. One such humiliation of a police officer in his own police station was caught on camera and went viral. In the clip, a politician was seen hitting a police officer on duty. Apparently, politician was unhappy for being treated like a common man in a hospital. He had to stand in a queue. He was unhappier for being arrested, on charge of beating up administrators of a hospital, and brought to police station. From the body language of the politician, it appeared he was used to getting his way around. He would not brook any interference with his diktat. He was not shy of using force.
Any police officer with power and authority vested in him, would put the goon in his place and throw away the key. But not in India. Indian police are made to work according to need of ruling political party. Decades of intimidation and bullying has emasculated Indian police. Men and women in police uniform have learnt to be obsequious to politicians. Many grin and bear the insult heaped upon them. A police officer of the rank of DIG, was seen cleaning a chief ministers shoe in full public view. I think police must be given free hand to deal with scums of the earth, no matter how powerful is the stench and arrogance of power.