Police Mis-governance

Instead of winning the confidence of people, police officials are further widening the gap

Dr Raja Muzaffar Bhat
Srinagar, Publish Date: Feb 24 2018 12:14AM | Updated Date: Feb 24 2018 12:14AM
Police Mis-governanceFile Photo

Recently a Dental Surgeon from Srinagar’s old city, who happens to be a Right to Information (RTI) activist as well, was kept in police lockup for few hours when he questioned cops for forcing people to buy lucky coupons for the upcoming 30th Police Public Mela, to be held in Jammu. Dr Mushtaq, who lives at Kathi Darwaza, was coming from Lal Bazar area and was heading towards his clinic at Rainawari around 3:30 PM on Wednesday Feb 7th. When he reached near Nowhatta Police Station, the cops at a police naka stopped his car. He thought it was a routine frisking as Srinagar was already tense in the aftermath of SMHS hospital shootout. The cops instead of frisking his car, asked the doctor to buy Police Public Mela coupons. Dr Khan was forced to buy two coupons of Rs 40 each (vide serial Nos 26148 , 26149 )

 After paying for the coupons, Dr Mushtaq argued with cops as to why they were stopping vehicles and forcing people to buy these coupons? This irritated the cops and they took him inside the Nowhatta police station. The SHO was not present in the police station and Munshi of the thanaa misbehaved with the doctor, and yelled at him. Finally after a few minutes of argument, Dr Mushtaq Khan was pushed inside the lockup. There were some thieves in the lockup and Dr Mushtaq was thus given similar treatment as if he too was a burglar.  According to Dr Mushtaq the Munshi of the thanaa  was so rude that he didn’t listen to him at all. He called him a 'fidayeen', 'terrorist' etc and contacted SP North that police has detained a suspected “Militant”. The message was further circulated to all the top officials of police. Had SDPO not been known to Dr Mushtaq, he would have been thrashed, or may be asked to pay money for his release ?   

 It was only after few hours when SDPO came to police station, D Mushtaq was taken out of lockup. When I came to know about this incident, I thought why not reach out to Police Wives Welfare Association (PWWA) which runs Police Mela show every year. 

Intervention by Chairperson PWWA

I contacted Ms Bharti Vaid who is Chairperson of PWWA. Police Public Melas are being organized from last 15 years in Srinagar and Jammu. The J&K Police Wives Welfare Association (PWWA) is the organiser of these melas. These Melas have assumed importance over the last several years. The idea of organizing these melas, according to police, is to bring police and public together under one roof. But the way police officials are at some places forcing people to purchase the lucky coupons, is damaging to the very essence of these melas. I am highly thankful to Chairperson PWWA for her personal intervention vis a vis illegal detention of Dr Mushtaq by Nowhatta police and forcible sale of 30th police mela coupons. The Chairperson felt very sorry over the matter. She told me nobody will be allowed to force anybody for the purchase of tickets. She assured that action will be taken against the police officials who misbehaved with Dr Mushtaq. State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) has also taken cognizance of this issue. The Commission has sought a report from SSP Srinagar. We even brought the matter to the notice of newly appointed IGP Kashmir, Swayam Prakash Pani who gave us a patient hearing and assured to take action against the police officers involved in this whole incident. 

  

Conclusion :

It is not only in case of Dr Mushtaq Khan wherein police mela lucky coupons were being sold forcibly, but we found dozens of people having similar complaints against police officials. They spoke out when Greater Kashmir carried this news. The official facebook page of GK circulated this news, we found many had been forced to buy the coupons. They posted their comments on the facebook.   

One, Ashiq Dar commented, “They compelled me also to buy these tickets”. Peer Saqib also wrote a similar comment. “They forced me to buy the ticket” . “I have been also victim some days before” writes Javaid Beigh. Yasir Raina writes, “I was also forced to buy the tickets for police public mela, I resisted and said my father also works in police department and they let me go”.  Mehraj Dar wrote, “If you do not buy tickets then you will be challaned for fast driving etc”. Khurshid Raja says he was also asked to buy coupon at Wanpoh area. “They compelled me to buy these tickets” says Ashaq Dar. Nazir Dar says” I too was compelled by the police to buy the same at Kralgund Kupwara”. I have the whole list of people with me who have come forward against this highhandedness. 

 Let police establishment understand the essence of Police Public Mela’s. If they  force people to buy the coupons, will it bridge the gap between police and public? Instead of winning the confidence of people, police officials are  further widening the gap. This is not the case of only sale of police mela lucky coupons, there are many cases wherein police officials abuse the process of law, be it illegal detentions, framing of fake cases against youth or taking money from parents of detained stone-pelters etc. I appeal DGP and IGP Kashmir to ensure that police officials on naka duties must be taught how to deal with public during frisking. In fact IGP Mr Pani has started such activities, but it is important that regular capacity building programmes are held at district level or even at sub division level.  

 

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