C Voter Research Foundation
April & May have been incredibly hot so far. And, the shenanigans of policemen in various states have been both comic and tragic. The Congress supported MLA in Gujarat Jignesh Mevani posted an “objectionable” tweet against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. FIRs were registered in BJP ruled Assam whose cops travelled all the way to Gujarat to arrest him. Independent Lok Sabha MP Navneet Rana and her husband. Ravi Rana threatened to read the Hanuman Chalisa in front of Matoshree, the personal house of Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray. Cops in Mumbai slapped sedition charges against the couple and arrested them. A journalist Aman Chopra working for the Hindi news channel News18 slammed the Congress government led by Ashok Gehlot in Rajasthan for not only demolishing a temple but also acting in favour of a community. Multiple FIRs were filed against him for creating religious disharmony and Rajasthan cops came all the way to Noida in Uttar Pradesh to arrest him. The cops stubbornly stayed put outside his house despite a High Court order asking the Rajasthan police to take no coercive action.
But the most comic and tragic “Tamasha” involved the police of three states: Punjab, Delhi, and Haryana. A small-time BJP leader named Tejinder Singh Bagga posted a series of tweets against AAP Boss and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal after the later mocked and laughed at the movie “The Kashmir Files”. Bagga basically said he will make life difficult for Kejriwal till the later apologizes for mocking the pain, genocide, and anguish of Kashmiri pandits who are refugees in their own country. A series of FIRs were filed in AAP ruled Punjab (Kejriwal has no control over Delhi Police). One of the charges was that Bagga was threatening the life of Kejriwal. The Punjab cops landed up at Bagga’s Delhi house one morning allegedly without prior information given to Delhi Police (a normal procedure in inter-state arrests), dragged him out, allegedly assaulted his father, and started taking Bagga towards Chandigarh. Bagga’s father rushed to the local police station where kidnapping charges were filed against the Punjab cops and the news was flashed to Haryana which falls between Delhi and Punjab. Cops in BJP ruled Haryana “detained” the Punjab Police team; a team of Delhi cops went to Haryana and Bagga came back to Delhi as a hero.
You might well think, why the author has spent so much space describing all these events. Well, these events, and many more neatly and clearly sum up the headline of this column and reflect the sad reality of the Indian police. Junior cops are appointed by states, but the IPS officers, like the IAS, are appointed by the President of India-and it is extremely difficult to dismiss them. And yet, over the years and decades, the police personnel of virtually all Indian states, including the IPS officers have become de facto slaves of the political party that happen to rule the state. Like in the case of IAS, there are outstanding exceptions and heroic tales of how some young IAS and IPS officers have actually brought about positive and inspiring changes in the districts where they are posted. But their numbers are limited and many of the outstanding young officers too become cynical or corrupt (or both) as time passes. Once upon a time, the police force in India was a tool of Imperial Britain to keep the “subjects” subjugated. Not much seems to have changed for the “subjects” though the British are long gone. In contemporary times, the new lords and masters, political parties, and politicians have used the police as tools to intimidate and harass opponents and use actual arrests or the threats of arrests to silence even journalists and ordinary citizens. Some time ago, a resident of Congress-ruled Chattisgarh complained about unbearable power cuts. Sedition charges were slapped on him and the poor fellow was arrested. Surely the cops know the law and know slapping such charges and making such arrests makes a mockery of justice and democracy. But then they follow orders delivered by their political masters. Who cares about law, justice, ethics, FairPlay, and service to citizens?
Inevitably, in such situations, many cops who act as slaves of political masters turn rogue. The classic example is the former ASI of Maharashtra Police Sachin Vaze who is currently in jail facing extortion, murder, and terrorism charges. Vaze had quit service but was reinstated when the MVA government led by Uddhav Thackeray came to power in late 2019. Given a “sensitive” post, Vaze allegedly reported directly to the then Mumbai Police Commissioner Parambir Singh and it seems quietly also reported to the then home minister Anil Deshmukh (who is currently behind bars). The crowning achievement of Vaze was the arrest of journalist and anchor Arnab Goswami who had become too critical of Uddhav Thackeray and the MVA government. Then, it seems Vaze allegedly hatched a plot to plant bombs near the house of tycoon Mukesh Ambani. All hell broke loose and it all unraveled once the NIA stepped in and took over the cases. Vaze and perhaps even Parambir Singh turned out to be rogue cops.
Old retired cops fondly recall the glory days of “Bombay” police under legendary officers like Julio
Ribero. Old and retired cops also fondly recall the glory days of Punjab Police under the legendary K. P. S. Gill who braved bullets and bombs of terrorists that threatened even their family members and vanquished Khalistani terror in Punjab just as “Bombay” police almost vanquished the Mafia in the city.
But those are memories. The present is cops being made slaves and many turning rogue. The future looks even more bleak.
About the Author:
After his masters degree in economics, Sutanu Guru has been a journalist for more than 30 years in media outlets like Times of India, Economic Times, Business Today, Business World, Business India & others. Currently, he focuses more on research and writing.
This is the personal opinion of the author. The views expressed in this write up have nothing to do with those of prameyanews.com