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Dismiss the Delhi Police Commissioner

April 21, 2013

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?

11 Comments leave one →
  1. April 21, 2013 1:14 AM

    It is not just the Delhi police. Where where WE when three minor sisters were raped in a small Maharashtra Village?( Where were WE when a 3 year old girl was kidnapped while sleeping next to her mother and raped in Mallapuram District of Kerala?( Where were WE when countless mothers and daughters of nameless lands were raped? And I am not asking about those happened before the “celebrated” delhi rape case, what about the ones after, at least only the ones that were reported?

  2. Aditya Nigam permalink*
    April 21, 2013 8:35 AM

    Dear Milanth,
    Thanks a lot for this comment and for giving me an opportunity to address an issue that I had not, in the post itself. This question can be asked of anybody, anywhere: where were you/ we when XYZ was happening? After all there are reportedly 23 to 24, 000 rapes every year in this country (last year there were 23, 582 according to one report) – which is to say, 65 rapes a day, not to speak of other heinous crimes.
    Quite apart from the fact that it is physically impossible for everyone or anyone to be protesting at every such crime, I think we need to understand the mechanics of how these things happen. No mass movement ever takes place because a leadership decides that now there should be a mass movement. Popular protests, characteristically, are outbursts of anger that has accumulated over time, and over repeated incidents. Incidents like the ones you mention may not have seen protests but often they add to this accumulation of popular anger – till a time comes when the dam bursts. It is only the most superficial mind that sees in such outbursts of popular anger, some kind of conspiracy. People are not professional politicians, nor are they professional protestors. Their everyday lives are full of struggle anyway. So when they decide to put away everyday matters in abeyance and come out on the streets, braving police represssion and attack, then surely it must mean something. Yes, mostly we protest when something heinous and violent happens very close to us though that is not always the case. There is nothing wrong about protesting when things are too close to us. Indeed, it is only natural. Which case will become a trigger for a mass protest no one can say.

    There is another issue that has been coming up with some regularity lately. The suggestion in the accusation (perhaps not in yours but certainly in the case of many people I know of) is that people protesting against these rapes – say in Delhi in December last year and now – is that these are middle class protests and people only protest when of their kind is assaulted/ raped/ murdered. It is amply clear however, in the case of both the December 16 gang-rape and the current case, that the victims (for want of a better term, let me use this for now) come from working class families. So even if the people protesting are middle class, nobody has gone out to first ascertain the caste/class background of the victim before protesting. There is a certain perversity with which this accusation is made. Very often, by people who have not raised even their little finger in all their lives to protest against anything. They think they can supposedly lecture to the whole world because they are apparently ‘radicals’. What does their radicalism consist of? God alone knows but you can prepare a typology, something along the following lines. Some are given it by birth. Some others are radical simply because they declare themselves radical. Then there are those who are radical in reflected glory, especially in the higher academy, especially if you are in the US or somewhere and nothing that you say entails a cost. Words flow easy in such cases. So somebody can simply be a radical because his Ph D supervisor is a radical/ anarchist or whatever.

    Finally, I wonder what you really mean when you refer to the Delhi rape case as ‘celebrated’. A working class girl, struggling to study and make something out of her life, in the prime of her life, dies with her body so brutalized. What is celebrated about it? That people were shaken with the brutality she was subjected to?

    • April 21, 2013 10:00 AM

      Thank you so much for the reply on my comment.

      I would like to make it clear here that I was not questioning the intention of the protesters at all. For me to do that, I have to be in there in Delhi.
      Since you brought up the subject, I am not saying there is a conspiracy behind the protests, but there certainly is a reason why a protest happening at a particular time in the history and I really doubt it is the accumulation of anger over the years against a system that is failing all over the “Nation”. I mean, how many of us actually comes to know about the heinous and violent happenings that are not very close to us to have an anger over it? Are you telling me these protests over rapes have nothing to do with the media attention and the media attention has nothing to do with caste/class identities of the victim and the city it happened?
      My question was entirely related on how media look at such incidents. How many of us gets to know about what is happening outside the metro cities like Delhi and Mumbai?
      About the Delhi rape, there is nothing celebrated about it. But the ‘case’ was celebrated by the media. I mean, tell me another such ‘case’ in the recent history!
      And finally, I haven’t joined any of the anti-rape protests in Delhi and I am not a radical. I just would like to question.

      Thank You.

  3. April 21, 2013 9:33 AM

    Please sign and share this petition, for a safer India

  4. April 21, 2013 11:24 AM

    Why are we blaming only the callous policemen for the horrible times that 5 year old and her family is going through? It’s true that the little girl is not only a victim of the man who raped and brutalized her, but also of a police force colored in mentality by a regressive, misogynist society…in that they offered the girl’s family 2000 bucks to shut up, one cop slapped a lady such that she bled from her ear, and another cop doubted if the girl had been assaulted because her relatives didn’t see her being raped! But let’s not forget that those policemen are also a part of Indian society..they see women through the same chauvinist, narrow minded prism as do many of their male counterparts. They also have been affected by how their mothers, sisters, aunts and female friends were treated by other men, and that mentality reflects in their (un)professional conduct in cases of sexual assault-refusal to register FIRs or check up on the missing or assaulted girl. Also, in cases where girls go missing, the police, instead of launching a manhunt, ask the girl’s family to verify if any of her male friends have eloped too!’s always a girl’s character subject to insinuations, eh? You are on the dot in calling this police force criminal…they are guilty of conniving with rapists, wife-beaters, molesters and such! Well written, and please do write more articles on the Delhi scenario.

  5. Arshiya Syed permalink
    April 21, 2013 11:23 PM

    Just walked down the ITO road to DPH, in many little pockets there are policemen sitting, idling, eating and calling it a day. Wonder if the ‘policemen’ by themselves had a sense of some belonging to the city would there be laxity in their attitude.

  6. kssubramanian permalink
    April 22, 2013 9:06 AM

    I was in the UK some years ago on a training programme, when a case of foot ball hooliganism occurred. The very next day I read in the papers that the police chief of the city where the incident had taken place was removed by the government! Can Sushil Kumar Shinde and Manmohan Singh learn a lesson from this?
    Thanks aditya for raising the issue!
    KS Subramanian IPS Retd

  7. April 22, 2013 11:43 AM

    Amnesty International India has called for an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the alleged misconduct of police officials in a case of abduction and rape of a 5-year old girl in New Delhi.

    “This case shows the appalling extent of indifference in the police to violence against women and girls, and the inadequacy of internal processes to ensure professional conduct”, said G. Ananthapadmanabhan, Chief Executive of Amnesty International India.

  8. April 22, 2013 10:01 PM

    Mr. Nigam, the cops can’t be held responsible for the rape – they are powerless to prevent it, and the problem needs a systemic change in society from within. I fail to understand, why did they not want to register a complaint. After all, all it takes is a few minutes of form filling. No one in this country expected them to crack the case – especially when filling a form would have buried the issue in a file somewhere in the police station. We have so many cases of rape, murder, dacoity, riots – all rotting in files of either the law enforcement agencies or the judiciary. Then pray, which cop got the bright idea of bribing the victim? What would have been his incentive? Delhi sees so many crimes – that it is not possible that his (or her) police station was in for some award for being best policed Station. He (or again she, though I feel it would be humanly impossible for a female cop to bribe) wouldn’t have got a promotion, would he? Are there some secrets to our functioning of administration that we are not aware of??

  9. April 23, 2013 9:00 AM

    The Govt. officials also must be prosecuted and punished at par with culprits for dereliction of duty as party to abatement.


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