Lately, we all have heard about cases of police brutality and custodial deaths and not so have recognised the dangers of such acts in our modern society. This topic has again been flung open as the latest case involves a series of events. A Nigerian national died in Deen Dayal Upadhyaya (DDU) hospital after allegedly being lathi charged by a Delhi Police personnel. Two of his friends who were with him, allege that he died because of a lathi injury on his head. The police show us a completely different angle in their statements which makes this, a very complex issue.
After the killing of George Floyd, the world has been raising their voices against police brutality. Leohand Lyeanyi, a 43-year-old man residing in New Delhi, died allegedly after a police assault and as a result, the community living in the national capital has taken to streets demanding justice for their brother. They allege that he was lathi charged by a Delhi Police staff and died due to police brutality. The mob that consisted of 20 to 30 people soon mushroomed signalling the possible onset of violence.
From breaking windows of the DDU hospital to creating a ruckus for the other patients, this mob did not sit silently. Following the death of Leohand, the mob gathered outside Tilak Nagar Police Station creating unrest in the vicinity. Reports suggest they tried to attack residents while launching a deadly attack on the Khaki wearing braves. The mob did not stop at this, they went on to attack the officials who came from the High Commission of Nigeria. Heavy deployment of police personnel was undertaken to control the situation in parts of western Delhi.
While the allegations of the kin of Leohand can be plausible, police evidence suggests an entirely different story. The Delhi police have denied these allegations and showed us a completely contrasting picture. The police have cited the medico-legal case (MLC) report that palpably states no fresh external injury whatsoever. A senior officer also stated that they received a call for Leohand’s death at around 3:30 am on Sunday from DDU hospital. They have also said that the CCTV footage shows something entirely antithetic. Leohand gets out of an auto rickshaw and is now sitting in front of a shop when he collapses, directly hitting his head on the ground with nobody standing around him. The post-mortem report is awaited but this case surely has something fishy. It is possible that the kin of Leohand are indeed telling the truth, but the CCTV footage does not lie. We all want justice but for that we do not need to put an innocent person in jail. Let us hope that this case gets solved in the most non-violent and effective way.
(Source: Indian Express)
Police brutality in India has become a major area of concern especially after the Covid-19 pandemic and sudden nationwide lockdown. There were many cases of police brutality reported which could have been avoided, the most sensational one being the custodial death of Jayaraj and Bennicks from Thoothukudi district of Tamil Nadu. Instead of laying down more examples, let us have a look at why the people who have the power to protect, and look after us, break from their oath and allegiance. The most basic reason is their personal agitation. It might not only be related to their families or their 24/7 job, but also the fact that they are discouragingly underpaid for the duty they do: thus, indulging in corrupt activities. Consider the case of Constable Sachin Sunil Savant (CRPF cobra commando) who was assaulted, handcuffed, and arrested by Karnataka Police for not wearing a mask while washing his bike in front of his residence.
Other reasons might be that in today’s environment, no one treats police with respect as they do to the other security forces. Custodial violence to obtain information and make an accused own up, has become a big reason to worry as some cops go out of hand. Amid all these reasons, we need to rectify many aspects of the police force. To start with, they should be treated with the same dignity as the other defence services. The government should come up with policies which increases the cops’ pay scale and offer them some if not all the amenities and incentives given to the other defence forces (quality accommodation, CSD services, part salary in kind, discounted travel etc). Another aspect the Centre should correct is to ensure strict policies against corruption and callous treatment to anyone.
We as a society must acknowledge that there is a huge deficit of respect for one of the most integral syndicates in the nation. In times like these, it is important that we see both sides of the coin. Half-cooked knowledge is never beneficial. Being rational is the need of the hour and we as proud Indians should comply with that to take this country to great heights. Is it not the responsibility of the administration to look after the overall welfare and growth of an organisation that oversees looking after us? While police brutality remains debatable for many, it remains intrinsically unjustified; and to uproot it, it is imperative that we address the core issues which haunt the very soul of the system.