Police brutality cases are not merely aberrations, it’s pervasive
The police force is a constituted body empowered by the state to enforce the law, protect rights of citizens and maintain civil order. In fact, an ideal police personnel makes an example of the most aware, revered citizen of the state who has an added responsibility to ensure safety in a region. To ensure the sustainability and functioning of an organisation of a strength of over 83,000 in J&K, it involves huge expenditure collected from the taxpayers’ money. In return, taxpayer expects an atmosphere of peaceful law and order in the city.
But, the ground realities are far from ideal. Police abuse remains one of the most serious human rights violations in our country. In Jammu alone, we have witnessed numerous cases of police brutality in past few months. In Feb this year, two policemen were suspended for lashing out at on-road jacket sellers at Panama Chowk. The quick reaction of suspension orders had come prior to a video of the incident that had gone viral. The video showed a few policemen chasing hawkers who charge them with lathi. In another case, allegedly a man was mercilessly beaten up in the lock up, threatened of imposing faux criminal charges and blackmailed. The incident occurred in Police Station Katra where he was jailed arbitrarily, thrashed all night and thrown out next morning. He received life threats when he lodged a complaint against the accused policemen. But a recent story that emerged has left everyone stunned. In a gross violation of human rights, a woman accused of theft was sexually assaulted by SHO Kanachak inside the police station. She alleged that the accused inserted beer bottle, chilli powder in her private parts and beat her along with her husband. The news puts an end on the speculations regarding the mistreatment, mishandling of accused persons at the hands of police. Such incidents, for many years, have in fact resulted in the decadent stature of the once respected body of constitution called Jammu and Kashmir Police.
What can justify the high headedness of these police officials who are actually public servants? Actually, inebriated with power bestowed on them by the state, the police has taken public for granted. The situation is more volatile in rural areas where a citizen is not equally aware of the system and regulations as someone residing in the urban area. The poor, weak, distant section of the society is the most susceptible to the police brutality which often goes unchecked. Unfortunately, cases such as above are plenty, where the policemen go out of their way to commit heinous crimes as a way to treat criminal, a complete disrespect to the sanctity of human rights like it’s their solution to the problem.
But, this has to stop immediately. The actions of police have to be checked. Those policemen who have been accused of human rights violation must be put to trial if the administration expects people’s faith to be restored in the organisation. The police body must realise that they are ideals of any respected civilian, while today, it’s an entity looked upon with contempt. The authorities must recognise this fact and work to eradicate that barrier between civilian and police. Let not the protectors become oppressors as the apprehension that entails from police action undermines the strength of the fundamental rights of citizens.