A few days back, I was reading an editorial in the Hindustan Times which talked about an unfortunate incident in which some policemen & women beat up a mentally ill girl because she turned violent.
The editorial argued that the police force needs to be reformed and sensitized about such matters.
My response, in an unpublished letter, is as follows:
This is apropos your editorial "Are we really a police state?" in HT dated August 27, 2009.
You have rightly raised a very apt question about the lack and immediate need thereof of sensitization of our police force. It was indeed painful to learn about a mentally ill girl being thrashed mercilessly in public, which is yet another instance of police behaviour at its worst.
In my view, however, this is not the problem per se; it is only a symptom of a deeper malaise. Police force, like any other institution, is not a faceless entity. It is essentially a group of people who, rather than being unleashed by the heavens above, are common people drawn from the society itself.
And it is our societal collective mindset – essentially feudalistic, acutely class-conscious, intolerant of the maginalised of any manner and opportunistic of the first order, rules be damned – which is being reflected in each one of us, policemen included, only with different degrees of manifestation in line with the opportunity provided.
It has to be recognized therefore that without a corrective action on the root cause, therefore, it would only be a symptomatic treatment at best.