The problem of politics and policing

I rarely even comment on news but I can’t as an opinion maker resist from Breaking news, when it affects a whole state in India. If one just connects the dots than it is reported that a middle level police officer was sent out of the police force almost 16 years ago, Sachin Waze, because he took the rule of the law into his own hands and under his jurisdiction a man died in the police custody under his watch. This smells of extreme torture and the judiciary of India thought so too and Waze was suspended from the police. This was not the only case against him for high handedness.

But curiously against the High Court Sentence he was reinstated by the current government in Maharashtra, which amounts to contempt of court, by the current Chief Minister (CM).

I just can’t help wondering if the CM could not find any other worthy police officers to take his place.
Now I hear on all news channels is that Waze has been taken into custody by the National Investigation Agency, (NIA) because he was is not only suspected of being involved in a IED case against Mukesh Ambani, but could also be involved in a murder.

According to Waze’s statements he is just the tip of the iceberg and his handlers are Very Important Persons (VIPS).
Who could these be? There are more questions than answers at this moment. But the truth always comes out and it won’t be long before he names his so-called VIP handlers.

Curiously enough even his boss Param Bir Singh has been transferred from being the top cop in Mumbai to head the Home Guards in Maharashtra. Pram Bir Singh faced too much heat after all the debacles he was involved in that even the Home Minister of the Maharashtra felt it would singe him.
All I can say at this time that we urgently need police reform and the sooner the better. If the police have to answer to their political masters than there is bound to be cases where they take the law into their own hands.

I spoke to a very senior police officer recently and he told me that police officers mostly get corrupted because their seniors and politicians make demands of them. Additionally, they not only have to police but also have to bring iron tight cases to court. We simply do not have enough police and detectives to do this. We have one of the lowest police to population ratios in the world and though they are trained, they don’t get the additional training needed in forensics, IT and a host of other 21st Century education.

Most of all I have seen policemen stop me on the road recently to say that I was not masked in my own car so I paid the Rs 500 fine and got a receipt but most citizens in India would bribe them for much less and get away. I know this and have seen it in real time. We citizens along with our politicians need to take the high moral ground and pay when we break the law.

Thus, we have a Sachin Waze who rides around in a high-end Mercedes and gets number plates at will and the Mercedes is found with Lakhs of rupees and other stuff and he has the guts to park it in the official office of the police. It seems that politics is helping and even condoning this kind of behavior.

It is not a question of how much they are being paid, as according to our standards they are paid well, they get housing and medical benefits, pensions but it boils down to the expectations from political masters and greed.

It is a whole mindset that needs to change and it can only be done with total police reform, where they are accountable to their system and not a puppet in the hands of political masters.

Maharashtra has shown us what it is like. The Centre should act now and bring about an accountable and much more educated police force where there are dedicated police, who even today have good human intelligence, but much more of them are needed to police 1.3 billion people. We should only take educated and literate policemen and make them constantly go for courses on the newest technology. We are not short of bright youth who want to serve their country only short of the vision.



Views expressed above are the author’s own.



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