We Need A Big Change: Law Enforcement 2

I have already written before about dismal state of law enforcement in India. Recent cases like that of Rizwanur Rehman in West Bengal and Blueline buses-Delhi police nexus have forced me to reiterate some incidents. Before that, I need to ask you few questions.

How far can you go to lodge your FIR or get justice? What do you choose to do to exercise your rights: Will you commit suicide to gain justice or walk naked on streets to get heard by police or run pillar to post to higher officials or a court every time you want to register a complaint in your local police station. Or will you call news-hungry media channels to gain their support or do you take the easy way out by bribing the already-corrupt police? What would you do when very protectors of law become your tormentors?

If you think, I am getting hassled over nothing. Think of Rizwanur Rehman, recent casualty from West Bengal, who died helplessly fighting against the brute force of police. This muslim youth’s only fault was that he had married a Hindu girl, daughter of a rich industrialist called Ashok Todi. You can read here how police negotiated with Rizwanur to send his wife back to nurse her so-called ill father. And then Rizwanur realized that he had been duped by police and his wife will now never be sent back to him. Few days later, Rizwanur’s body was found on railway tracks. CBI is probing his death after West Bengal police investigation was found wanting in credibility.

The question is not if Rizwanur committed suicide or was murdered. The fact remains that, in either case, it was police that was his tormentor. The police instead of protecting him from clutches of rich was abetting with rich. I would not be surprised if even CBI bungles the investigation of Rizwanur case. I am already losing faith in the system.

I still remember Pooja Chauhan, the lady from Rajkot who had to parade in her underwear on city roads just to register a complaint against her husband and in-laws! I can’t think of more extreme step a woman can take just to be heard. She had been sacked from her house by her in-laws for not being able to give birth to a male heir. Since then she had been unsuccessfully trying to register her complaint in the local police thana. But our police refused to entertain her complaint till she made this desperate attempt to garner public and media support by walking semi-nude on the roads. So much for Domestic Violence Protection Act!

This was not a stray incident; there are dozen more that happen everyday right under our noses. Only we get to hear select few.

You are mistaken if you think such a phenomenon of not registering FIRs is confined to rural people or other lower strata of society. People in cities routinely bribe law enforcement officials. They bribe the police to register a FIR for their stolen vehicles or to escape traffic challans. Delhiites shell out bribe even to get their passports made! They gladly pay the police officer who comes for a routine verification of their address in passport application form. Is it surprising that sometimes malicious elements easily garner passport by bribing? Some of them also pay the guy who delivers passport at their homes! 😦Blueline buses in Delhi have claimed 99 lives (still counting!) this year. How? Simple by their connivance with corrupt Delhi police. Just bribe, and you get valid licenses for any defaulting bus or any unqualified bus driver. Who pays the price? The common men and women like me and you. We pay the price of their corruption with our life.

Corrupt practices such as not lodging FIRs or writing “missing” reports instead of “stolen” reports help our law enforcement officials to keep crime rate stats low. No wonder ruling parties then boast of low crime rates in blatantly crime-ridden states!

Let’s campaign against corruption in law enforcement! Let’s refuse to bribe these officials! Let’s knock the doors of courts whenever met with unfairness and unlawfulness! Let’s pitch in together for the rights of innocents or some day we might be standing in their place.

This article is part of We Need A Big Change series on this blog. You can read We Need A Big Change: Law Enforcement Part 1 here.

More about Rizwanur: Did cops tap Rizwanur’s phone?
Loopholes in Rizwanur’s suicide theory
Rizwanur case: tainted cops removed
Bengal has a history of mystery deaths
More about Pooja Chauhan: Rajkot woman stages semi-nude protest
Why Pooja Got Mad
More about Delhi Blueline buses: Delhi’s killer buses
Blueline-Police Nexus

12 Responses to “We Need A Big Change: Law Enforcement 2”

  1. 1 Life's Elsewhere October 26, 2007 at 9:27 pm

    Thanks for the post.
    From Sep 21, the day Rizwanur died, I have been persistently writing about the event in my blog. This is to inform you that I have quoted relevant sections of your post at the bottom of a very long post, my first post on the tragedy which I constantly update citing major news on the event.
    Just for another small correction, Rizwanur’s father-in-law is named Ashok Todi, not Ajay Todi. I have corrected the name in my quotation before seeking your permission.
    Will request you to see this post too: What Rizwanur’s death means to me, my latest and longest one, which also I will continuously update.
    Thanks, sorry for a longish comment.

    Poonam: Hey, I liked your blog and idea of blog-novel a lot. You have covered the Rizwanur issue very throughly. It is a full-blown journalistic work, an encyclopedia of sorts on Rizwanur. Were you related in any way?

    And thanks so much for correcting Todi’s name :), human brain functions strangely. I knew the correct name, yet made that mistake. 😦

  2. 2 nitin October 27, 2007 at 1:09 pm

    Bang Bang!!!

    we couldnt agree more on wat u said..Everywhere their is corruption….Our Police works for Politicans rather than for the public..
    This is wats happening in India..from the past and will continue to happen in future..
    I was horrified to hear the news of “Semi nude women protest”..its a shame for the entire police force and state and india…also the other cases which u cited out…very sad…

    Poonam: Nitin, you are right. Walking semi-nude on streets was really horrific. And you know what then police said perhaps woman is insane and wanted to book her for a case of indecency. It was media outrage over the issue that was a saving grace.

  3. 3 Life's Elsewhere October 27, 2007 at 2:07 pm

    Am not related to Rizwanur; one of his students is my student too.
    The Blog-novel…well its not happening 😦
    Ah, not very journalistic, thought that’s what I wanted to do…only citing certain major news and write-ups.
    But I can’t write about anything else now. My blog was very personal/poetic, suddenly it has changed into something else and I did it willingly.
    Today posted something very personal…but also related to the event…after a long time.

    PS: I did not correct your mistake too! Now will I do it.

    Poonam: Hey, I understand why you changed the course of your blog. I can sense you are deeply impacted. But you should continue with your personal stuff. You crusade for the cause of humanity and your personal expression should go side by side. I will look forward to keep your personal poetics.

    As for blog novel, I have a suggestion. Why dont you split your posts (long posts attract serious readers but not majority of readers. That’s a sad fact 😦 ) and make each episode/stage of Rizwanur’s story as a post. You can use the links in the sidebar as table of contents of your blog. Check this girl’s blog for a novel sample. Read the acid queen story, she posted entire story of her life as a novel on blog. See her blog here: http://laketch.blogspot.com/ (Check links in acid queen story in the sidebar)

    She returned to normal blogging after writing her story. 🙂

  4. 4 arvind October 28, 2007 at 4:37 am

    well,a good post indeed…but we have been ranting on the careless law enforcements since the time i started watching news… 😛
    nothing has changed it has ,perhaps , worsened .
    Bribery has been on the increase inspite of constant steps to reduce them..
    When the people are helpless it does urge them to give bribe for having their work done…
    until the government officials realise themselves that taking bribe is wrong we cant do anything …

    Poonam: Arvind, if the corruption has increased, it is our fault. Because we willingly bribe them just to save us small troubles. As I mentioned in the post, people bribe the police guy who comes to verify the address for passport. It is his routine job, why you bribe? I didn’t, instead I told the police guy (because my neighbours recognized the policeman who had previously taken 500/- for passport verification at other homes.) that I had filed RTI (right to information act), if I did not get my passport as stipulated in 60 days, I am gonna make sure the negligence is punished. The police guy purred…we were most vulnerable people with me and only my aging grandparents. Yet they couldnt extract any money from me, why do others pay??

    Onus is not only on government, but on us we should stop paying bribe.

  5. 5 Nova October 29, 2007 at 6:22 am

    Hey, the article was bang on!!!! Very well written and formulated!

    Poonam: Thank, girl..where do you get so much energy to keep on posting. Me so hard-pressed for time that responding comments late in night. 😦

  6. 6 Life's Elsewhere October 29, 2007 at 10:59 am

    Poonam, thanks for the link!
    Incidentally I have changed my blog-template, redesigned the entire thing…so that you have excerpts on all my posts on the Rizwanur event on the main page and the latest post in full.
    The novel…well, later, now only the event!
    And now I am facing a barrage of trolls and abuses: doting dads of daughters who are in a panic that their baby might marry either a Muslim or a less rich stud; fundamentalist Hindu rights a la Todi, ooops! Modi; people who think that I am a Bong-fundamentalist, closet Islamist, anti-rich, anti-marwari, communist and anti-national… I am waiting when they will accuse that I am an anti-male seducing women through my writings!
    i must wait till these gentlemen stop visiting my blog. If they by any chance read what I usually wrote before the event I might be in a deep soup!

    Poonam: Hey this blog template makes your site look content heavy. Try Fadtastic, Digg3 for you blog. It would be refreshing. You want more people to see your cause, so a refreshing template. And do not be deterred by these abusing people, problem with this country is that they never anything till they are themselves the victims. They do not realize what happened to Rizwanur could happen to them, or one of them. I have only contempt for them.

  7. 7 Liju Philip October 30, 2007 at 9:46 am

    Well, the whole system is screwed up. We elect rapists, murderers, thieves to power. What else can we expect? Look at the kind of people who rule us.

    Narendra Modi, Advani, Laloo, Mulayam, Amar Singh, HKL Bhagat, Jagdish Tytler, Arjun Singh, Mamta Banarjee, Bal Thackeray etc…

    Each one a better murderer than the other. Each one can put even Hitler to shame. The people we elect use the police who are supposed to protect us to screw our happiness itself.

    And what do we do? Nothing.

    We need to use technology to beat these corrupt people at their own game. Setup online websites about corruption and expose the powers with evidence. Need to file PIL in the courts. Somehow, the youngsters need to get organized and do something than simply talking.

    Poonam: Yes, that is right..in name of democracy…goons are elected to public office. 😦 To the list of national goons, there are some localized goons-cum-MLAs like Md. Shahbuddin who are backed by national goons. I read an account about Shahbuddin in a book called Best of Tehelka that how this guy manages to rule despite being murderer because, with his money and muscle power, he can move the corrupt bureaucracy to get small tasks like ‘getting a ration card’ done!

    As for PIL, people are gone mad and misusing it. They can file a PIL on Shilpa Shetty (after Gere kiss episode)and numerous other such bogus PILs. Already so many cases pending, and these bogus PILs also take up time. We need to learn self-regulation and bring in more awareness. As for online systems, they are still on the way. Transparency is hard to get in this country, you never know how many years they take to have entire governance online and transparent.

  8. 8 Cj October 31, 2007 at 11:14 am

    Truth behind Rizwnaur death …CBI Report
    On Sunday a part time teacher at the Arena Multimedia, Alpana Joli had received a SMS from Rizwanur, which said ‘awaz uthana’.

    Rizwanur spent the nights from September 8 till the day he died on September 21 with several colleagues, the CBI probe has revealed

    In a tragic tale of doomed love, Pryanka was said to have asked Rizwnaur how long he could wait for her return. “For my entire life,” he was said to have replied. Swapnil overheard the conversation.

    Friends! Read the series of Rizwnaur’s story >> http://www.merinews.com/catFull.jsp?articleID=127329

    And plz if you people has any type of information or story related to Rizwnaur…..don’t forget to share with merinews…..because merinews is one of them who is demanding for justice….

    So, raise ur voice for Justice >> http://www.merinews.com/citizen_greetings.jsp


    Poonam: I read the articles, and felt sad to know that Rizwanur had to spend his nights at his colleague’s home..and that he died without being with his love. Thanks for the link for citizen journalist contribution at Merrinews! I have bookmarked this link.

  9. 9 arvind November 2, 2007 at 3:49 am

    yeah i agree with you that we are the ones spoiling and we are the ones who should take some actions..
    and what you told about passport wan’t a serious one..
    i still remember when i was in 6th std. my house electricity meter had broken down and there was no power for three days and the guy who is supposed to change the meter was not doing anything .
    he had demanded money and my father had to give it…
    you see, people are helpless .In some situations its easy to just go and confront them but when the people have no choice they cant help giving money..
    AGed people cant roam around for getting the right to information act and waiting for the things to be done which should have been done before…
    I still feel until the poverty and standard of living of the country improves , there wont be a considerable improvement even if try our ass out…
    anyway ,kudos for the post..

    Poonam: Arvind, you have a valid point there that sometime we have our hands tied..like in your father’s case. Sometimes you are forced too, but that was what we need to fight as much as possible. baby steps a time.

    But believe me, it is relatively easier to fight corruption these days if you have the bill. I gave that passport example, because people do it as norm..and neither is it urgently required for most people …yet they would willingly pay…I know..hw hard it was to get even forum submitted…den wen they guy came..he wanted money..I told him..I had a RTI complaint..if after 60 days passport does not arrive i will go ahead with the case..

    As far as aged people are concerned, if they have youngs like us..my grandfather though is as aware..but when he recently was so trouble by house tax people..i decided to take matters in hand and filed consumer court compaint..named the officers we dealt with..also told dem that I am filing RTI..it worked…

    You know it is vicious circle…poverty and malnutrition exist because of corruption..huge funds are released to eradicate diseases, poverty, and malnutrition but they never reach those who require most…poor people anyway don;t have enough to pay bribe… 😦

    Thanks for the encouragement about the post, though. 🙂

  1. 1 Life…is elsewhere, not here: Rizwanur Rehman « Love’s Ragpicker Trackback on November 1, 2007 at 10:41 pm
  2. 2 A Year of My Blogging Journey « Visceral Observations Trackback on March 28, 2008 at 9:31 am
  3. 3 Book Review: Known Turf by Annie Zaidi « Visceral Observations Trackback on May 24, 2010 at 3:19 am

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