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Millennium Post

How to make Delhi police accountable?

While the brouhaha over Delhi law minister Somnath Bharti’s racist comments and actions have set off a chain reaction of claims and counterclaims on the AAP leader’s regressive majoritarian views, what might just get lost in this theatre of ‘AAPsurd’ is the truth the agitators were trying to drive home. Survey after survey has corroborated the fact that Delhi police, the bone of contention between the Delhi government under CM Arvind Kejriwal and the union home ministry under Sushilkumar Shinde, is the bastion of unbridled corruption, sharing the booty with every possible illicit trade racket in the national capital region and its neighbouring states. Be it illegal liquor, drug peddling, sex trafficking, and other underground activities bordering on the criminal according the IPC, have Delhi police not only as covert benefactors, but most of the times, active orchestrators of such criminal syndicates. Not only have a number of reports underscored that the Capital’s police force is the country’s most corrupt and conniving, busy providing VIP protection to the city’s rich and politically connected, they are also the reason behind almost one-quarter of the reported crimes. A 2012 survey by the National Crime Records Bureau lists 12,805 cases out of 61,765 nationwide complaints that were registered in Delhi, pointing towards the deeply problematic condition of the men in khaki guarding the Capital’s premises. In fact, according to reports, 77 per cent of the complaints registered on the newly launched AAP helpline has been against Delhi police, indicating how utterly corrupt and compromised our cops are, with heavy stakes in the existing establishment comprising the bureaucracy, political fraternity, big corporate class, as well as the decidedly partial mainstream media, which has done a turnaround on AAP, refusing to agree with its ‘worm’s eye view’ of Delhi politics.

Even during the Nirbhaya case, the initial reluctance of Delhi police to cooperate and investigate, as well as their lathicharge on the spontaneously assembling protesters at India Gate, Jantar Mantar and Parliament House, are now urban legends, forever attached to the unfortunate cultural memory of that gruesome episode. In fact, AAP’s protest against Delhi police and their demand that law and order should become a state subject are attempts to find lasting solutions to technical problems of legislations which have become the mainstay of entrenched and ever-deepening corruption in the police-politician nexus. While Bharti has definitely erred in his unfortunate choice of words, his midnight raid is also symptomatic of AAP’s effort to transform the grammar of political language, perhaps permanently. While Kejriwal-led AAP is trying to metamorphose governance from the same old cosmetic tinkering with rules to a churning and cleansing to the roots, naturally, the old guard, of which Delhi police is a prime stakeholder, is up in arms, citing tradition and technicalities to obstruct the democratic dissent. Perhaps we need to rethink the idea of governance which does not work for the ordinary citizen out on the streets, as is exemplified and buttressed by Lutyens Delhi’s politically enmeshed. In order to bring in lasting change, the tools of governance, including its police of course, need complete overhaul. It must be understood that law is not a static entity that is rigid to the extent of inconveniencing and acting in detriment of the citizens. Law-making and legislating are works in progress and democratic dissent is an important mode of shining a light on the politically needful.
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