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Police a Punching Bag for Society Ills!

The over a thousand people mob that turned into a violent rampage last Sunday on account of the alleged kidnapping of a 14-year old girl at Varca by eight tourists from Indore, Madhya Pradesh were controlled by a motley crew of 13 police officers. Media carried the news that the police resorted to firing and lathi charge while the mob pelted stones. But no one for a moment thought of the immense bravery shown by those few policemen led by their PI Uttam Raut Desai to not allow the law and order situation to go out of hand at a time when most of the police force were on VIP bandobast at the BJP National Executive. The mob could have killed those eight tourists. And now as the true story of what happened last Sunday emerges, we realize that not all eight were responsible. In fact four of those boys were completely unaware of the antecedents of their other friends. Unfortunately, the police are always made the punching bag for society ills.

Having worked closely with several agencies of law enforcement and intelligence, Police, Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI), Intelligence Bureau (IB) and R.A.W. on several issues. The least respected and most abused is the local policeman. However, while there is no denial that the police force has many rotten apples in it, some of the police officers are diamonds in the rough, committed men and women to their duty. I remember when my team worked with both the Panjim and Margao police station to crack-down on the sex massage parlors in the state. The men and women were committed to their job at hand.

Goa Police over the last couple of months has been the target of vicious attacks for their failure to curb the law and order situation which appears to be going out-of-hand in the state. Some people even believe that police deliberately fail to do their duty because they are bribed in most cases.

Let’s take the Vasco rape case of a seven-year old girl. The Chief Minister has gone on record saying that the police had tried their level best to nab the rapist but were limited in their resources, therefore the need to hand-over the case to CBI. This step is in itself is a major demoralizer to the. entire police force. I still believe that if the case was not handed over to the Crime Branch and the local police were allowed to investigate, they would have solved this case within a short-span. By giving it to Crime Branch and in particular the officer Sunita Sawant known to have run-ins with local police officers in itself was a blockage to the follow of information from Vasco ground-level network of police informers. Most of the rape cases so far in the state have been solved the local police and not Crime Branch. This step of the Chief Minister will always remain a mystery to me.

Let me also illustrate another example of the case we have been following up of the woman whose children and maid-servant were assaulted and stripped off their clothes. Here too a head-constable (a video we have released which has gone viral on the Internet) refused to file a complaint about the woman’s maid being stripped by the assaulter who happened to be the woman’s brother. Till today, no action has been taken against the head-constable. The police though have now taken the case seriously on account of the complaint being raised with the CM on this issue.

The problem plaguing Goa Police at this moment is that at the helm of affairs there is a no leader in the police force that can lead by example. Many appear to driven by their personal agendas and political loyalty. I know of cases such as the above mentioned one of the woman whose maid was assaulted, where she even approached the Director General of Police, who instead of understanding the seriousness of the issue and her plight chose to lecture her on the responsibilities of a woman to her family. And how in such family disputes murder is an eventuality in most cases. All these details have been put in a complaint letter to the CM to initiate some action. And this is only one such example, there are many.

Good officers like the North Goa SP Vijay Singh, who went after nefarious activities such a prostitution and drugs in and around the North Goa coastal belt had to be replaced on account of political pressure from politicians in the current government in those activities. Even a sincere Police Inspector like Nolasco Raposo too was transferred from Calangute for stopping all the prostitution and drug activities there.
Or a Police Inspector like Sagar Ekoskar who was shunted to GRPF for not falling in line to political dictates.
No reasons are ever given by the senior officers as to why good officers are transferred when they are doing their job. But senior officers looking for plum postings are willing to shell-out lakhs rather than doing their job of protecting and encouraging good officers, but instead they are made scapegoats. I know of a Superintendent of Police (SP) who is willing to pay Rs 3 crore for a particular posting in North Goa. But so far no one in the Home Department has shown any inclination towards accepting his token of appreciation.

I think its time for the Home Minister and Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar to take a decisive look at the Goa Police and make some necessary changes for the better, if it would mean replacing several heads at the top, then such strong decisions out to be taken. People’s emotion towards crime especially crimes of assault on children and women are rising. The mob reaction on Sunday is an example of what is in store for in the days to come ahead if another rape or assault happens to a local Goan girl. Slowly, people are losing faith in the police machinery and will start taking law into their own hands.

The police force is one pillar of the society that citizen must run too without fear in the hope of seeking protection to their issues and grievances.  But while that happens in many cases, in some cases it is the police that add to the citizens worries. However, we must never lose faith in this pillar of society, because even in the Goa Police there are some committed and honorable police officers.

To the team at Colva Police team, irrespective of how your investigations progresses on the alleged kidnapping case of the 14-year old girl. Your act of defiance and courage shown to maintain law and order is commendable.

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