Both these incidents are shameful, and this is the very reason why the Supreme Court, last week, took suo motu cognizance of newspaper reports with the caption ‘Punjab cops beat up woman in public’ and ‘Police assaulting women’ in Patna, and last Monday, issued a notice to the Union Home Secretary, Chief Secretaries and Home Secretaries, DGPs and Police Commissioners of all the States and Administrators of all Union Territories - seeking their response on implementation of the directions passed by the apex court in Prakash Singh’s case on police reforms.
Not only this, the incident of Tarn Taran was equated with that of Jallianwala Bagh tragedy. The Supreme Court has asked the police brass as to what action has been taken against the cops involved in beating case and also said that the police cannot curb this incident for a longer period with an excuse that the matter is under investigation. The Supreme Court is above Magistrates and the police has to reply to the Supreme Court directly in this incident.
In fact, the center of power had shifted away from politicians who had encouraged police atrocities and high handedness and those exercising real power did not care for the traditional value system and could go to any extent. The situation in the states had been deteriorating due to the police-politician nexus, and it had worsened to such an extent that the only law in the state was lawlessness. This culture had developed due to the misuse of the police by the rulers for their vested political interests.
Whenever there is such an incident and where ever there is an open police-public clash, the governments' very cleverly managed to side-track the issue. This is the reason that people are losing faith in the police system and the terror is to such an extent that they don’t want to deal with them. The image of the police has been damaged to that level that people have started calling them ‘rascals in uniforms’. Every policeman is not like that as there are certain persons in uniform who understand the meaning of the uniform and perform their duty sincerely and we often see them honoured also on certain occasion but they are hardly seen in real life.
On the other hand, a good number of police class, which creates a terror among the people like that of incidents in Punjab and Bihar, are rarely punished. The real sentinels have become dangerous for the people. The faulty system is responsible behind this attitude to some extent. The politicians because of their status in the politics dominates the police force and in the list of their service, the politicians are their priority followed by public. This has made an adverse affect on the policy activities and in case one has to choose between power and public, the police will chose power.
In fact, the existing police system is working on the pattern of British rule and in their eyes, those who demanded independence, were anarchist, and the system to handle them was to continue to rule over the slaves. The same police system is working even after independence. This is the reason that there are no major changes in the attitude of the police working and its style. The treatment of the police is not equal to all categories of people. When a poor person goes to the police station, he is rebuked or snubbed while the rich is offered a chair and a cup of tea.
According to the Constitution of India, everybody is equal but it seems the police does not work as per its directives. Thus, the time has come to stop such incidents and take concrete action to bring reforms in the police system as police is part of the judicial system.
At the same time, it is very unfortunate that there had been changes in the government but it has escaped their attention to increase the number of police and judicial officials in proportion of the population. Number of times, this issue has been raised, and certain commissions have also submitted their reports but all such findings are gathering dust on the shelves at certain unknown levels. Now, when the Supreme Court has once again raised this issue, the government should take the lead in giving reply to bring reforms in the police system.
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