Just last week, a well known City High School took its students on a familiarisation visit to a police station…
While this might seem like an innocuous school activity to many, it is an applause worthy initiative to make children citizen-conscious, by familiarising them with the arm of the law that touches our daily lives.
These bubbly and tender 1st Standard children made the atmosphere charged with curiosity, stated the report. One of the students confessed that she felt fearful seeing so many guns around. However, most of them courageously asked relevant questions and the police patiently showed them around and answered their queries.
This visit is sure to leave left a deep impression on these tender minds and perhaps help break the poor image of the police as portrayed by most of our society.
In fact, the usual refrain of the elders at any home is ‘don’t get into the jhanjat (inconvenience /trouble) of the police.’’ And, this is clearly because, the police is viewed as someone who is going to make things worse for you. Harass you if you report any crime or demand a bribe to rest your case…
Distance yourself from they as they are perceived corrupt and often foolish (as portrayed by most Bollywood movies). This has indirectly actually boosted the morale of the criminals who believe that common citizens won’t go through the trouble to bring them to book.
That, police should be the first option to seek help does not occur to most of us and if it does, we shelve the thought fearing trouble.
We need to remember that the biggest crime is to suffer injustice and hence, police is the direct, lawful connect for you to seek justice. When more and more citizens approach police, the latter will automatically get tuned to your complaints in a pro-active manner.
I have sought police help on several occasions and my experience has been good. You too should not hesitate in seeking police help. It is believed by many that no one answers when you dial the police control room on #100. however this is not true.
On three occasions, I’ve dialled 100 due to unbearable noise levels from a loudspeaker in my neighbourhood, after 10 pm. (as per Supreme Court order, you cannot have blaring loudspeakers between 10 pm and 6 am). Each time the police has promptly attended and asked the organisers to stop the noise.
Very recently, I called up 100 because I saw a haversack lying on a traffic island. The police recommend that such incidents should be reported. After about 20 minutes of my call, I received a call from a police constable, thanking me for bringing it to their attention, and on quick investigation, it was found that the gardener had left the haversack behind!!!!
A few months back, I dialled #100 as I noticed a large fire on the roadside on my way back from work. Within 5 minutes the fire brigade called up to ask for more details and my identity.
Very strangely, a lot of people do not report thefts at home even if they suspect their own maids having a hand in it. A few years ago, I was to accompany Arvind Kejriwal to Ralegan Siddhi to meet Anna Hazare. Just before I was to leave home, I noticed that Rs.12,000 were missing from my drawer. The same evening, I went to my neighbourhood police chowkey and reported this, adding that I suspected a carpenter who was working then at my house.
While i had called the main carpenter on this, he declined help saying that he wasn’t responsible for the others actions. Both were summoned by the Police and he eventually agreed to pay up.
Shying away from reporting is also seen often in sexual harassment incidents. In fact, there is a cyber-crime cell in our police commissionerate headed by a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) and they have been doing laudable work.
A couple of years back, a very dear friend kept getting sexually harassed through emails from a neighbour. I impressed upon her to report this and with the help of the then Police Commissioner, Rashmi Shukla, the matter was resolved and the offender was made to sig a bond of compliance.
Why suffer in silence? Why bear injustice? Just seek help of the police who work against so many odds, including bearing the wrath of citizens.
Let’s befriend the police for a change and am sure they will be there for us just like any good friend would do!
#All views expressed in this column are those of the author and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to them.
That's Vinita Deshmukh, Senior journalist and RTI activist who believes in journalism that reflects the views and needs of the common man.
Get Real And Stay Relevant says Vinita,