Dismiss the Delhi Police Commissioner
It is surreal watching leaders from Sushil Kumar Shinde to Sushma Swaraj make tough statements, one after another, on television. Statements about taking strong measures, the latter even demanding, as is her wont, death sentence to rapists. I felt like asking, do you even realize what the people are angry about? Do you even know what is at issue here? Who will you hang? Case after case, even after December 16, it is being revealed, suffers from the same problem: the refusal of the police to even register a case! What is the meaning of this high histrionics then, when you do not even have a culprit to punish? I am not even raising the question of the ethics of death penalty because that is a redundant question at the moment. Except for the raving right wingers who – like Sushma Swaraj and Shinde – have to make some song and dance about the issue merely for effect, no one else really believes that at the moment there is any issue other than the criminality of Delhi Police.I used the words ‘criminality’ with some deliberation having watched and experienced some of their antics as closely as an average Delhi citizen does – where actual criminals are protected and innocent people are framed because the police have to show that they have done their work, that is to say, caught the culprits and moved the matter forward. What has happened in the present case, that of the five-year old in Gandhi Nagar, is even worse, for they did not even know who the culprit was! They were offering Rs 2000/- to hush up the matter simply because they did not want to pursue it – deeply ingrained misogyny, but also, as one comment in another post on Kafila points out, equally deeply ingrained classism. Contrary to what many facebook radicals believe, most of these cases of rape are perpetrated on the poor – in this case the father is a daily wage labourer and the family lives in a single room for which they pay some Rs 500/- according to one report. Just as was the paramedic student gang-raped in December last year.
In the meantime, another – among many others since December – case has come to light where a 13 year old was kidnapped from Farsh Bazar in the Shahadara area of East Delhi and taken to a place in Loni, gang-raped by 8 men and once again, the police had refused to register a case, when the family approached the police. It came to light because the desperate child tried to commit suicide – she is now in hospital, hopefully recovering. 78 children are reported to be missing from East district of Delhi Police, of the 5 girls from the same police station (Gandhi Nagar). And we do not know who the culprits are.
Do those who are shedding crocodile tears and indulging in fire-spouting rhetoric even understand that we are reeling under a criminal police force? That what we need is the strictest action against any defaulting police personnel, for refusing to lodge a case, not empty statements that mean nothing. Taking further action and arresting the perpetrators is the next step, the very first itself is where the matter is sabotaged.
Just to round up my story, it might be interesting to try this out – something that happened with two of my firends. One of them, a senior journalist whose car, with a ‘Parliament’ parking sticker, was stolen from Shastri Bhawan when she had gone there to interview an official in the HRD ministry. A car theft from the Shastri Bhavan parking lot, you would imagine would be impossible. But it happened in broad daylight. When the matter was reported to the high-ups in the police, suddenly things moved. Lo and behold, the car was found ‘abandoned’ in south-central Delhi. Not those who had stolen it. This is almost exactly the experience that another freind had. If they think the matter can become a big issue and the complaint had really gone to the higher ups, the property will almost immediately be restored – always found abandoned. Never will you catch the persons responsible. This is criminality. But this is also corruption.
But of course, corruption was always an elite issue, or so we were told. What do the masses have to do with it? For them, it is the shade, as someone eloquently put it! Really? Are the connections too difficult to make?