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Millennium Post

When defenders turn predators

At a time when the former IPS and supercop-turned-political agitator Kiran Bedi has lent her morally sonorous voice to the cause of BJP, the cops in the national capital have garnered yet another reason to feel deeply ashamed of themselves. Despite facing routine flak for their general inefficiency, what we still do not expect from the police is to turn downright criminals. Such is the plight of the hapless residents of Delhi that the protectors have now turned predators, with a bunch of three constables setting a man on fire for failing to pay a bribe installment. The victim, Uday Chand, is now battling for his life, having suffered 85 per cent burn injuries. In fact, while police atrocity and encounter killings have hogged national headlines over the years, this kind of behaviour sets a new benchmark in police-driven abuse. The three men in uniform, in this particular case, had been harassing the auto-rickshaw drivers in Capital’s Neb Sarai area for years demanding hefty bribes for them in lieu of allowing them to ply their vehicles on the roads. As it happened, for once Chand failed to pay the installment on time, and lo behold, the cops promptly poured kerosene on him and set the man on fire. So drunk are these servicemen with their state-sanctioned power, which is effectively to safeguard the citizens and not become marauders and pillagers in the first place, that the cops even reported for duty the next morning at the local police station where they were posted, that is until they were suspended.

It is unbelievable to what extent abuse of power is rampant in the system, right from the top bosses in the government, the bureaucracy to its affiliated units such as the police force. As per the accounts of the victim’s family members, the cops used to regularly beat them up, demand money and threaten to frame false cases against them. In fact, bribe taking and giving reached a peak during the Diwali week, with cops even stopping and demanding money from car drivers on various pretexts of rash or drunk driving. However, we would like to know what kind of government has allowed this kind of debased animosity to fester in one of its pivotal institutions?
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