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POLICING UNDER POLITICAL PATRONAGE

In a blinkered system like ours, where power and wealth are the ultimate virtues, where power and wealth in themselves stimulate mutual growth to the exclusion of all other dimensions of life, it is no wonder, the people of this poor country succumb to the trappings of power and wealth at the cost of all virtues, values, pride, dignity and human decency. In an increasingly competitive and complex world where every day more mouths are added to share limited resources, where the principle of the survival of the fittest operates to its immane logical end and where the basic needs of survival and decency can be assured only with power and wealth, people naturally go all out to ramp the ladder of power and wealth by whatever means and cost. In the process, justice and morality become casualties and criminality raises its ugly head as an instrument to achieve otherwise impossible objects. This is how politics and crime knit together in the fabric of Indian public life.

POLICE AND POLITICS

The story of the police is somewhat different. As the catchpole of the nation’s administration, the police enjoy tremendous power over vast fields of human activities with responsibilities to life and death of the hoi polloi as well as dignitaries. In this sense, the police is the cutting edge of the state power and its ultimate bearer. No power can be its own sans the police on its side as an executioner and loyal watch-dog. This is why politicians felt the need for wooing police to their side in their activities. The police

of independent India has become an easy prey to the power-baits of smarter politicians by the reason of their failing strength of character and talent. Their greed, unsound social background, lack of commitment to good values and failure to partners in whatever politicians do or intend to do. They refuse to look beyond their political masters with their dispensations of job favours; and so law, justice, righteousness, professional ethics, morality, decency, human dignity, common good of people, national interests and even conscience, otherwise common to any human being, have become invalid nonsense to them. The police, sans sound character and personal integrity, is no more than a country dog which is what the Indian police has become in free India. The politicians, inebriated with new power, smartly brought these weaklings to absolute submission and hold them on a tight leash to be their personal watchdogs and personal gendarmes in requital for favourable job placements, undue promotions and other largition from time to time. Nothing is valued higher than this largess and its dispensers by the new police of India. It is how the police was involuted in the conspiracy against decent public life of India.

POLICE AND CRIME

It was a hop and skip for the police from the plangent world of politics to the mysterious world of crime and the underworld. The police became a weapon of

politicians to bring about the subjugation of the crime world to prise their resources for the political ends. They thus made good use of the decreasing strength of character of the police in forging a nexus between the police and criminals in furtherance of their own

telos. With a week spine to hold itself and hapless in the face of odds, the police is only too pleased to follow the footsteps of its political masters as the cardinal principle of policing. In changed circumstances, discipline and subordination which form the basic connecting link of the police hierarchy, lost all their shades of meaning and are interpreted as dunny and blind subservience to those who have power, seeking personal interests. And politicians easily led the police to the despicable cul de sac of the nexus with criminals, the very people whom both are supposed to control and bring to book for antisocial activities. With politicians as the custodians of power en arrier to the hilt to support, the police plunged lock, stock and barrel into the lucrative crime world; the consectaneous wealth and comforts were in no way less sweet than the hard earned money of law–abiding society. This is how the nexus between the police and crime world was established.

CRIMINALISATION OF POLITICS.

Whom should we blame for this hapless position? Certainly not the politicians or their auxiliaries like criminals and police who are unfortunate by-products of the grind. They are created by the situation arising from a system which is misfit to the people to whom it was devised. The blame lies either on the Indian people who are impair to the democratic system evolved for them, because of their unenlightened and venal consciences which is so dim-witted that virtues like honesty, service, patriotism, quality and excellence can make no dent on is at all, or it lies with the political system devised for them which failed to take their psychological makeup into account and ipso facto led

to the problem of maladjustment in national life.

Otherwise, how can we explain

criminals and goondas winning elections with impunity even while rioting and murders were committed at their behest on the eve of elections itself. The fact is that the chance of winning an election often is pro rata to the aura of a tough image built around the candidate. It is these people whom the Indian electorate prefer to invest with powers to safeguard their interests. Obviously, the Indian electorate lacks of foresight and vision to understand the consequences of its irresponsible decision. It is yet too immature to take decisions about the interests of the nation and see how national interests are closely linked to its personal interests. It is yet to broaden its perspective to include the life of the nation as an integral part of its own. Long term and rational decisions are alien to its nature. Immediate selfish interests and a parochial outlook continue to be the driving force of all its actions and decisions, whether it be on the matters of national importance or personal concern. In most parts of India, it is money, arrack, sari, threat, fear of landlords or the blazoning propaganda of a candidate that influence it to decide as to whom to vote for. How can the avenir of this country be safe in the hands of such an electorate and its elected leaders? How can an indifferent and irresponsible electorate provide honest and efficient leadership to the nation? This weakness of the electorate has ultimately left Indian politics in the heath of violence and manipulative extortions, with the instruments meant to protect them mowing the field. Saner elements in politics, who found survival difficile, have left the field, giving way to the elements which are more suited to what is required in the field. It is how politics has become a pit of junk from a class of dedicated and virtuous leaders. The credibility which is the pith of any political life is the biggest casualty political institutions and the percentage of the electorate that

takes the trouble of going to polling booths to cast votes is steadily decreasing from election to election, It is an open secret that an election is an opening for a candidate to invest money to reap wealth, comfort and power for the next five years. And how he reaps the wealth, comfort and power again is not a mystery at all. It is corruption and misuse of public money. If he is ambitious and intends to promote his career interests, there is no way out in the existing system but to resort to pulling strings and pursuing other more deadly methods, often with the active collusion of the officious criminals and police.

POLITICAL PATRONAGE The unhealthy nexus often leads to and facilitates other forms of crime. Cases of rioting assault, kidnap, rap and blackmail, involving the supporters or relatives of politicians, criminals and police in furtherance of a political cabal are other usual forms of crime that result from the vicious nexus. Often, criminals and police are employed to create disturbances or inspire sensational crimes in furtherance of political goals. The losses of life and property involved in the wily schemes seld touch the conscience of either the politicians, the criminals or the police who are responsible for these dastardly acts. The political patronage and the nexus with police desensitize criminals to the process of law and justice; they are thus emboldened to commit more daring and ruthless crimes that endanger the life and property of the plebeians. The police, in its links with politicians on one hand and with criminals on the other, is in its new avatar as the protector of vested interests with no more commitment and passion for law and justice. It has become a discredited force, a willing instrument of power-brokers in a ruthless and

violent cabal of power-games with no heart for the common man and the common cause. This is the requital, the Indian electorate gets for letting its political system putrefy by its nonchalance and irresponsibility.

CHANGED ROLE: With the increscent involution of the police with glidder politicians, the conception of the police about its own role has undergone a large-scale change. No more does it look at crime control and maintenance of order as its first duty. With this, the concern for crime control received a setback and crime control and investigation have receded to the last priority except when politicians are interested in them for a specific purpose. Only crimes that disturb politicians foment police to galvanic and meaningful action. Other crimes receive no priority . The very definition of the gravity of crime is adapted to suit the new concept. Those crimes which are tolerated by politicians are no more crimes. The self-image of the police as ‘ a fearless arbiter of crime’ is changed to a solicious servant in attendance at the pleasure of a politician-master. This blunting of the crime card of the police has made it less awe-inspiring and less deserving of respect from the criminals. The police has more and more realised that criminals, particularly those from organised syndicates are personal friends of its political masters and it is no match for the criminals in terms of wealth, influence and social standing. The men of the police see those criminals on equal footing with their political masters and learn to treat them with awe. They find it absurd to act with authority against the immarcescible criminals who are too high for the small stature of the police. It is unfortunate that the police of the present days has never realised its infinit stature as a law-enforcing agent vis a vis all

others including criminals and politicians whom it is empowered to search, arrest and take to court if they deviate from their rightful path. Sadly, the trifling wealth and the concomitant “big-man” image of others appear to the present police as more appealing than its own awful police authority.

POLITICISATION OF POLICE:

The extant system of selecting the police chief is erratic at best and motivatedly amoral that meets the political ends of the rulers at worst.

A police chief in a state was taken to court with his wife after retirement in 1990 February for defrauding the public and a spastic society by sale of charity tickets in name of the spastic society and pocketing huge amount of money. This is the standard of people who are chosen by politicians to lead post independent Indian police.

A POLITICAL INSTRUMENT: In an atmosphere where placements and transfers are decided by the needs and wishes of self-seeking politicians, no police can efficiently function nor can it be free from the vice prise of the politicians. It is not surprising that power-esurient politicians more and more grab powers that are legally and traditionally invested with the police department when the top brass lack the strength of character and conviction. This leads to a position wherein the police department becomes a chessboard on which politicians move their pieces to checkmate their adversaries and win the political game in their

favour. In other words, the police sans effective leadership is becoming more a handmaid of politicians by moving away from its sacred role as the guardian of law and justice and protector of the society and the common man. The credit of bringing the police from its height of power to the present level of absolute submission should go to the superior strength of personality of wily politicians who bent the police on their own terms with selective use of stick and carrot. This police is not the police and what it does is not policing in the proud sense of the term.

CRIMINAL TENDENCIES: A Deputy Inspector General of Police infamous for his epinosic and corrupt activities in 1982 while holding charge of Eastern Range in Davangere in Karnataka desired a young Deputy Superintendent of Police, under him marry a girl from the family of a rich arrack contractor of his range. The parents of the young officer fearing undue pressure got their son married in desperation to a girl of their choice. This antagonised the Deputy Inspector General. His next annual confidential report of young officer showed the junior as a liability to the police department and misfit as a subdivisional police officer. He also prevailed year after year upon other officers who wrote to incorpse similar or more deadly remarks.

confidential reports of the young officer

Most of them obliged and this bright junior officer ended up with a series of unsubstantiated adverse remarks repeated time and again in his annual confidential reports. All his appeals were never allowed to reach the government. It is to the credit of the young officer that he remained unbroken and continues in police service while his far less competent colleagues have superated him on the career ladder and the young

officer was successively denied important postings though there was not a single thing in his career to justify such a treatment. Undeterred by the unjust scorn heaped of him by refusing promotion in preference to his less qualified and less competent juniors, he later addressed the chief secretary of the state government not to consider him any more for the promotion. He took this unprecedented autophagous decision in utter contempt of the corrupt and immoral departmental heads and government functionaries who crushed his career prospects.

There is a case of a Director General of Police in charge of Crimes and Special Units in 1987 in a Southern State in India who as head of the Food and Civil Supplies Enforcement cell of the state under a Director was accustomed to getting free supply of quality rice, sugar, pulses and other commodities from traders to his house through the latter organisation. The new Director of the organisation in 1987 in the rank of

Superintendent of Police failed the Director General of Police by his principled stand in this regard. This enraged the latter to the extent of hounding the young Superintendent of Police and seeking opportunity to publicly humiliate him. He followed the young officer wherever the latter went for raid hoping that he would get some opportunity to fix the latter. When all the efforts failed, the Director General of Police decided as the dernier ressort to play a drama of searching the Superintendent of Police in public before invited press and public in an induced case of trapping on suspicion while the latter was returning from raids in northern parts of the state, depending his calculations entirely on the humiliation engendered by the publicity of such suspicions and searches by a very senior officer coram populo. However, the cabal of the senior officer came to nought and

the Superintendent of Police, was saved from the gratuitous humiliation in public while inscience of the welcome set for him on the way by his senior. The Superintendent of Police reached back state headquarters through another route that night. It is of interest to note that the Director General of Police who stopped so law in his police career was posted as an advisor to the Governor of North-East state during President’s rule after a few years, postliminary to his retirement from police service. This is the calibre and integrity of extant Indian Police Service. This is the reason why Indian society prefer tolerating social maladies to approaching police manned by such people, devoid of any decency, objectivity and fairplay, both in private and public life.

As corruption takes control and spreads to all strata of the force, upright elements in the force become a minority and also forfeit coveted positions in the organisation as inconvenient candidates. They are scorned as removed from ground realities and detested and avoided as moles in the mainstream. Their honest and professional approach

becomes a disaster and unpopular everywhere. Their courage in face of odds loses character amidst popular sound ad fury of the misinformed. Vested interests inside and outside the police let loose false propaganda and spread distorted versions of events against such officers and suborn character assassination to keep own reputations on right sides. The Situation becomes really distressing when superior officers partake in the game on the side of vested interested for consideration and join hands in an unholy alliance to bend and silence the upright among them. Taking recourse to unfair and illegal means to crush upright officers is also not uncommon. Though courts of law can theoretically protect against such harassments, expenses, time and uncertainties involved

and the history of court judgements being dodged or rendered ineffective

by

administrative sleight, render the protection meaningless and force the upright officer to face all humiliations and losses in silence or yield to the pressures. It is to the credit of Indian police that it has great officers who withstood all slights without yielding to pressures.

It is an irony that the political leadership which supposed to take the lead of reconstructing India is colluding for mutual selfish ends with the police which is supposed to be the tool of the reconstruction and thereby strike at the foundation of the strength and orderliness of the country. Every passing year sees a new phase and a new trend in this nasty connection between the important players of the national reconstruction to take the country by some miracle at the last moment. As the people become more and more attuned to the nefarious nexus and resign to the assuefaction, the players become more and more bold with the passing years and go with their nasty collusion at the cost of the nation’s interest with impunity for mutual relief and benefits by subornation.