In the last three decades or so, different types of cases have been reported in newspapers which indicate the criminalisation of police. This is found in three forms:
- Policemen committing crimes themselves
- Policemen helping criminals in committing crimes and getting a share out of it
- Policemen resigning from the department and joining the militant groups engaged in killing, looting and abduction
In these three types, we have not included police corruption which by itself is a serious crime.
Robberies, extortion, kidnapping for ransom, and rapes of innocent women are some of the crimes allegedly committed by the men in uniform.
In June 1993, a constable of Delhi Armed Police allegedly kidnapped and raped a 16-year-old girl. A head constable and two constables were arrested in one state in July 1994 for allegedly extracting Rs 40,000 from two youths after threatening to involve them in narcotic offences.
In March 1996, two police constables in one city stopped an auto-rickshaw passenger, threatened him and took Rs 4,000 from the complainant.
Most of the traffic policemen in Mumbai and elsewhere in the country too keep fining people for no fault of theirs just to achieve their target. When I complained about the harassment motorists face at the hands of our traffic policemen, the traffic department did nothing to help me out. Instead, I was abused in filthy Marathi words.
One traffic policeman even snatched away my mobile phone while I was recording the gaalis he gave to a motorist and didn’t give it back to me.
Sudip Dalvi, a member of the Musical Warriors and Save Tiracol Movement was badly beaten up by the Goa police on November 7, 2015, when he demanded a probe into the mysterious death of Fr. Bismarque Dias whose body was found floating in the Mandovi River. In Sudip Dalvi’s own words: “A police officer punched me and shoved me into the police van when I insisted a probe into Fr. Bismarque’s mysterious death. The police officer then banged my head against the iron grill of the window of the van.”
In another incident, the police mercilessly beat up a young girl of around 21 years of age on September 27, 2015 at the pandal of Lalbaugcha Raja in Parel, Mumbai just because she was trying to make her way through the huge crowd of people in order to seek the blessings of Lord Ganesha.
In yet another incident in the month of October 2015, a couple was picked up and badly beaten by the cops at the Andheri Police Station just because they were fully drunk and creating a ruckus on the road. The cops at the Dombivili (a far-off suburb in Mumbai) are no less. They accept money for solving cases.
There are several instances of policemen raping complainants in police stations and no action is being taken against them.
These are some of the crimes reported in newspapers and on television from time to time. A close scrutiny of the cases clearly indicates that in a large number of cases, it is the constables and head constables who are involved in crimes. Unless exemplary punishment is given to such undesirable elements, the image of the men in uniform is bound to sink low.
Criminalisation or ‘khaki-coat crime’ is thus getting widespread in the police. Just because the police have got the powers, they feel they can do what they want with the public. The Police Commissioner is no less. He does nothing to help the poor citizens of the country and only trusts his men in uniform, who according to him are ‘saints’.