Who will police the police? by Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam (JULY 21, 2011)

Justice Anand Narain Mulla famously called the UP police “goondas in uniform.” That the honourable judge’s remarks are not too much off the mark even today is borne out by facts.

On July 12th Kalkaji Express derailed near Kanpur. Seventy three passengers died and 250 were injured. Soon UP policemen descended on the scene, and instead of pulling passengers out of the wreck, began to loot them systematically.

Meanwhile, villagers from the vicinity began to gather at the site and got busy helping the passengers, pulling them out of the wreck and providing relief. This disturbed the policemen’s mission of robbery, who lathi charged and chased them away.

In hospitals wounded passengers recounted how policemen searched their blood-soaked clothes and looted cash and ornaments. Some wounded passengers protested and shooed them away, but the dead were looted without protest.

In communal conflicts the UP police have invariably acted as an extension of rioting mobs. Justice Mulla was right.

Interestingly, in the seventies there was a policeman in UP who was also the head of a dacoit gang. During his annual leave he used to lead his gang in dacoity operations. That way, he was doing double duty––working as a cop on duty and working as a dacoit during leave. On the other hand, the policemen looting the passengers were on official duty and working as dacoits.

Police misdemeanor is not limited to UP alone. Look what happened to Faiz Usmani in Mumbai. He was picked up for interrogation in the wake of Mumbai blasts and was dead within hours of being brought into police custody. As usual, policemen were exonerated by an autopsy report. But there is more to it than meets the eye.

Citizens have met police officers in Mumbai to show concern. We have not heard the last of it. By the way, ever thought who will police the police?

(Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam)


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