Policing Limitations
Columns, In Black & White

Policing Limitations

August 28, 2021

This week has been a tumultuous one for a docile city like ours. Within a week we witnessed two terrible crimes — an armed robbery which left an innocent shopper dead and the gang rape of a young woman at the foot of Chamundi Hill. 

Most Mysureans were asking, “How could this happen in our city?” Well, Mysuru is changing, and it’s time the Government gave Mysuru the attention it deserves, especially in terms of urban infrastructure and security. 

While political parties are busy using these two incidents as political fodder, the Police have cracked the armed robbery case in just 4 days! It’s impressive Police work considering it was a multi-State operation. The Police have arrested six people from 8 States including West Bengal, Jammu, Maharashtra and Rajasthan. 

Even in the gang rape case, the Police have reportedly zeroed in on the culprits. This proves that when the Police are given the freedom to work without political interference they will do their duty.  

In recent times, the Indian Police service has been mocked as Indian ‘Political’ service, as they have become willing participants in political machinations. Just 2 days ago, the Supreme Court Bench led by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana observed that “Police Officers who want to be in the good books of the ruling party misuse power and harass political opponents.” 

For decades now the Police service has been at the service of politicians rather than the people. The reasons are three:  Money, post-retirement political career and caste politics. 

Corruption is part of any society, but when it infiltrates the realm of ‘law-keeping’ then it affects the very fabric of civil society. In Karnataka, it has taken a disturbing turn, as Justice R. Devdas of Karnataka High Court on March 15 this year observed: “Every now and then the citizens of this State are given to understand that ‘plum’ postings are assigned for monetary considerations”! 

Three decades ago, local MLAs would fight to get the best Police Inspector to their Constituency so their Constituency would be crime-free and a safe area to live in and do business. But today there are MLAs who, instead of fighting with the Government to get the best Police Inspectors to their Constituency, negotiate to get the Inspector who can pay most for the post. Naturally, when such a Policeman comes to your area he is in  “investment recovery” mode rather than “justice delivery” mode. 

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Then there is the promise of a post-retirement political career. In fact, some Police Officers resign at the peak of their career to join politics. In Karnataka, Police Officers who entered politics include former DGP Shankar Bidari, former Bangalore Police Commissioner H.T. Sangliana, former Minister late D.T. Jayakumar (he was Sub-Inspector in Nanjangud), former Inspector B.C. Patil (now Minister), former DGP L. Revannasiddaiah, former IPS Officer K.C. Ramamurthy (now Rajya Sabha MP), retired ACP Abdul Azeem of Bengaluru… the list goes on. So will an Officer’s allegiance lie in delivering justice or securing his political career?

Caste also plays a part in how justice is delivered. Today most political parties depend on their own set of vote banks which is based around caste. This means when they come to power they depute Police Officers who belong to their caste or believes in that party’s ideology in key positions either to fix the Opposition party workers or to favour their own party workers. 

That said there are exceptional Police Officers. In recent times, Mysuru has had quite a few  but as Mysuru grows the city will need a bigger Police force, strong IPS Officers and concerned MLAs. 

Safety and Privacy

Whenever there is an incident or rape, our leaders will say something crude and unempathetic like our Home Minister, who said, “It is a deserted place, they should not have gone, but we can’t stop anyone from going, they went.” 

Indeed one must be very aware where they go so they don’t  put themselves in harm’s way, but can the Minister ask why Police does not patrol that area regularly and why CESC does not turn on the street lights there? 

In fact, it was common for couples to be harassed and blackmailed by thugs on Chamundi Hill and even at the foothill, it was so bad that couples formed groups and went up the hill to protect each other. Then the Police started regular patrol up the hill and around it; soon the thug menace stopped.  But now the lack of patrolling and street lights has emboldened miscreants again. 

Meanwhile,  we all have to ask ourselves, what drives young Indian lovers to secluded places? Why do these youngsters put themselves in harms way?  Simple, it is lack of privacy and the hypocrisy of our society. 

Most Indian men have no qualms visiting Bangkok for a sex-holiday, of course there are exceptions, but when they see a College couple holding hands they judge them harshly, especially the girl and then call the Cops to chase them away, sadly Cops oblige. 

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 So what does a young couple do? They search for dark corners away from prying eyes, risking their safety for a few stolen kisses and a lover’s romantic touch,  which by the way comes naturally as their hormones are raging.

That said, of course our public parks don’t have to turn into spaces of obscene acts but let the young couples feel safe enough to hold hands and steal a few kisses. Surely, a land that built a grand temple for sex, a people that gave the world kamasutra, a nation that produces the most number of romantic movies in some 20 languages can give young lovers a little space…  And if they go overboard, you can always scream “get a room.”  

Finally, it all comes down to how men behave and that is driven by punishment. For that laws have to be executed. Just banning walking around Chamundi Hill or Kukkarahalli Lake after 6 pm is not the way. Instead, turn the street lights on and increase patrolling, more importantly  punish perpetrators quickly and make an example of them, else Mysureans too will hope for the kind of justice delivered by the Telangana Police who shot dead four rapists. 

Our city is growing and it will do so rapidly as the 10-lane Highway opens, as the airport gets more flights, as more trains come in, with it bringing industries and people from all over the country… and with that comes complications of Policing.  We already got a sample of it this week with the armed robbery case where the culprits came from six different States and in the gang rape case where the Police have zeroed in on men from Tamil  Nadu.  

For a very long time, most of us in Mysuru have been psychologically feeling safe assuming we are living in a blissful city, a pensioner’s paradise. Now that’s all set to change and our Police force too has to get bigger, led by efficient IPS Officers and more importantly managed buy junior officers who are not here on “paid posting.” Else Mysuru known so far as a cultural city will end up being an uncouth, uncultured and unlivable city.

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3 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Policing Limitations”

  1. boregowda says:

    Please can you explain how can Police arrest 6 people from 8 States, mathematically impossible unless the police let go a few and recaptured them from a different state

  2. swamy says:

    Most high profile rape cases like Nirbhaya, or Telangana or this Mysore one, were commited by working class youth. The working class youth should be guided and provided better platform to become good citizens..Hope volunteer organizations hold some kind guidance classes for them to become good citizens.

  3. Jalandhara says:

    It does not do any good if the editorial such as this peddles myths such as:” a docile city like ours ( meaning Mysuru 2021), “corruption is part of any society, a pensioner’s paradise, meaning Mysuru 2021..”. It is surprising that Indians think that because their society is corrupt, all other societies must be so! Mine in a Western country is not.
    As some one who was born and brought up in Mysuru, I would not characterise Mysuru of even 1950s as a docile city, a relatively quite society that was with less number of people and certainly modest traffic, compared to Bengaluru then, but was not a pensioner’s paradise. It had the Mysore university, a large employer, the CFTRI, certainly a large employers, the regional railway workshop and the HQ of the Southern Railway and the iconic medical college. But again, that was perceived relatively quite city as the City was slowly expanding unlike Bengaluru. But by 1960s with central audit and accounts office located in the Mysore Palace Building, more and more colleges springing up as well as small businesses locating from Bengaluru, the City was growing at a rapid phases. By early 1970s, Mysuru was expanding rapidly, with multiple extensions with new post codes.
    Mr Ganapathy who landed in this City, in 1977, thought, it was a pensioners’ paradise, which it was not!
    The Congress government then was reluctant to convert the Mysuru-Bengaluru railway line, from the metre gauge to broad gauge- a combination of reluctance to destroy the City and focus on expanding Bengaluru further. By 1980s, the expansion of the City was unstoppable, and the pollution became intolerable. The crime rate was rocketing up out of control: an example was the murder of our family doctor in his large house, when the armed burglary went wrong. There were other armed robberies to at that time, I recollect in a few cases, the victims were threatened with the Russian Kalashnikovs-thanks to the Tamil Tigers -the terrorists, from SriLanka were allowed in freely as a gesture of friendship by Karunanidhi ,some migrating to Mysuru, brought in the the automatic weapon culture. There was no way back. Use of handguns too became prevalent. That was 40 years ago!!
    Now, it appears that the crimes, as I read from afar from time to time are on an exponential curve. My friends who have settled in Western countries on visits to Mysuru find that harassment of young women in streets are common. When complained to the police, cases were registered, and nothing much seemed to happen.
    Female harassments lead to rape incidents such as this. One cannot dismiss as the crime of the working class men. Severe sexual harassments mentioned above, when my friends reported them to the Police were committed by young educated men, many of who were students.
    It cannot be denied that in India, young females are considered as sexual objects. That is in a country which boasts Goddesses!
    The country is degraded ethically and morally, looking at the institutional corruption and now perhaps societal female harassments.
    It is a very sad state this country has sunk to.

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