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Friday, 14 December, 2018

Judicial inquiry in police high-handedness

The flexing of muscles by the Goa Police at the drop of a hat has to stop! The police are not here to create disorder but to preserve order

04th December 2018, 03:17 Hrs

Jesuin George Fernandes


“While the cat is away, the  mice will play”. This appears to be the case with Goa Police, saddled as  we are with a headless government and a Home Minister who is out of  action. 

Even before the dust could settle down on the ugly Fatorda  Stadium incident where a youngster was brutally beaten up by a large  posse of policemen, yet another incident of police high-handedness or  goondagiri has shaken up the State. It is in a situation like this that  the absence of an active working Chief Minister, who could intervene and  take corrective action is more acutely felt.

Left to themselves,  the police hierarchy is bound to be biased and sympathetic towards  their fellow policemen. 

If not an eyewash , the most one can expect from  a departmental inquiry is a suspension which actually means a ‘paid  holiday’, only to be quietly reinstated. 

Some time back, a video clip  went viral on social media: it showed a dead body of a drowning victim  laid down on leaves, in the background of which a Goa Police Sub  Inspector was abusing and kicking the dead man’s friend, merely for not  answering queries to his satisfaction! 

What action has the police  department taken on this brute of a policeman?! 

If victims of police  brutalities are to get justice and the police force disciplined, there is  a need for a full-fledged judicial inquiry in such cases.

As  rightly pointed out by the Director General of Police(DGP), Muktesh  Chander, the behaviour of Goa police personnel reflects fundamental  defects in training. 

Our policemen badly need to go back to school and  relearn to tame their anger, deflate their inflated egos and behave like  policemen. 

Patience is always the greatest virtue; short tempered  egotistic people do not fit in any civilized police force. The  policeman’s task is to ensure that the law is obeyed which at times  means physically restraining members of the public and how tactfully  they do it makes all the difference! 

The need for a public-police relationship and indeed a friendly relationship cannot be over  emphasized. 

No police force can successfully carry on the task of  maintaining law and order without the support, trust and confidence of  the community. 

With public corporation the policeman’s job becomes a  lot easier and this in turns depends on the respect the people have for  the law enforcement agency. 

Goa Police have sullied their image and it  would indeed be a tragedy for both the police as well as the public if  relations between them remain strained.

The policemen who  interact with the public on a regular basis are the ambassadors who can  win friends or enemies for the police department. They are the face of  the police force which in turn is the embodiment of state power! 

All  over the developed world, the stress is on securing greater involvement  of the people in policing and for this the law abiding citizens should  see the police as friends and feel safer when they see them on the  street!

It is nobody’s argument that the policemen should  tolerate or take abuses and assaults by the members of the public lying  down. But in both the recent cases of police brutality, the police have  picked on unarmed soft targets. If they were abusive or even assaulted  the policemen, they could have been easily restrained and dealt with  according to the law of the land. 

What happened is a clear case of  inefficient policemen savagely giving vent to frayed tampers,  frustrations and bruised inflated egos. 

The police are not here to  create disorder but to preserve order. An eye for an eye and a tooth for  a tooth will leave the whole country blind and toothless!

This  flexing of muscles by the Goa Police at the drop of a hat has to stop!

Ironically , it is the very same police force that meekly allowed the  Nigerians to run amok on the streets of Porvorim. The Goa Police higher-ups and whatever is left of our political leadership should make  course correction before public anger against police goondagiri  manifests into something uglier!

Technology is being increasingly  used for crime detection and prevention. It would be a good idea to put  cameras on traffic policemen too. If citizens and police  both know that they are being watched, they are more liable to behave in  the right manner. 

Cameras will also leave proof of violations by either  party. The normal procedure adopted by the Traffic Police today smacks  of bossiness: the constable who stops you, takes your licence and  leisurely walks towards his superior 50 mts away, expecting you to  meekly follow him like a lamb! 

This bossiness has to stop; the policemen  should be made to realize that they are not the masters but are here to  serve the public.  

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