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.
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.
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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