I have wanted to write about this ever since I started this “We need a BIG Change” series on my blog. However, I procrastinated writing due to my other responsibilities. But I could not put it off further.
Recently all the news channels were gaga about a lady who had to parade in her underwear on the Mumbai roads to register a complaint against her husband and in-laws. Apparently she had been harassed and sacked from her house by her in-laws for not being able to give birth to a male heir. She had been unsuccessfully trying to register her complaint in the local police thana. Our police, corrupt to the tee, reused to entertain her till she made this desperate attempt to garner support by walking nude on the roads.
We might feel sorry for her and redden with anger. But feeling sorry and wasting our anger is not enough, it is time for us to sit up and act to change this. This is not a stray incident; rather this is a story that has had heightened impact due to desperate measures taken by a woman in distress. Remember Nithari serial killings?
It took Nand Lal, whose complaint disclosed Nithari killings to the world, about five months and a court’s order to register a FIR of his 20-year-old daughter, Payal, who went missing in May 2006. Read Tehelka’s eye-opening account of how Nand Lal got his FIR registered. This does not include those countless poor villagers who had gone to police station to report their missing kids. They were callously told by these police officers that their kids had eloped or ran away from them. How can a city’s police be so corrupt and irresponsible? Could they not decipher the pattern when so many children from the same village went missing? Let alone actively handle the matter, they did not bother to register a FIR until a court’s order forced them to 5 months later!
Almost a year later, what’s the update on Nithari killers? None! It is common knowledge that the police officers were corrupt. Some of them were suspended, after a long CBI probe that hogged the daily headlines, we are still nowhere to punishing the serial killers who committed such heinous crimes.
These are not the only instances when police has refused to act and register a FIR. Few days back, when a drunk call centre employee ran over two kids. I can not forget the tearful father’s words on television, “Mein apno bachchon ko dafna bhi nahin paya, jab tak ki us bande (accused) kijamant bhi ho gayi!” Before he could cremate his children, accused had walked free on bail!
Neither would police register his complaint were it not for the media intervention in wake of current surge in drunken driving incidents. Watch this IBN video to know what this grieved father has got to say about the treatment meted out to him by police.
If you think such a phenomenon of not registering FIRs is confined to rural people or other lower strata of society, you can think again. A Delhi businessman had to first bribe the police to register a Fir for his stolen car. Long ago, when I was still at college I had faced a similar situation without being aware that it was not right.
My mobile phone was stolen, I went to lodge a complaint in the police station. It was all the more necessary to furnish the copy of FIR as I wanted my telephone operator to provide me a new sim card to retain the same number. Little did I know that the police officials would not let me write that my phone was “stolen.” When I argued, they slyly suggested to write my phone was “missing!” As if my phone walked away or disappeared like a genie! I complied, but regretted recently when I saw Samajwadi party’s advertisement. It was then I understood the significance of writing “missing” reports.
Registering “missing” reports instead of FIR for “stolen” goods helps our law enforcement officials to keep crime rate stats low. No wonder Samajwadi party could boast of low crime rate in crime-ridden UP!
Let’s campaign for the rights of the weak! Let’s knock the courts whenever met with unfairness and unlawfulness! Let’s pitch in for the cause of others or some day we might be standing in place of them.