15 June, 2021

Might Is Right: How Parties In Power (Mis)Used The Indian Police Force

From atrocities on Jamia Millia Islamia and JNU students to firing on protesters in Nandigram, India's policemen have been puppets at the hands of political forces

Might Is Right: How Parties In Power (Mis)Used The Indian Police Force

On January 14, the Delhi Police got a few ­admonitory lessons from Tis Hazari judge Kamini Lau. “Have you read the Constitution?” Lau asked, as she tore into them for arresting Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad in connection with anti-CAA ­protests, and for behaving as if “Jama Masjid is in Pakistan”. (She granted him bail the next day—although clouding the trail a bit by telling him to stay off Delhi and not “interfere” in its elections.) The focus here, however, is not Azad. It’s how the police—as an institution, as the most visible instrument of law—seem all too often to ­occupy a space far away from the ideal. Which is, working for the citizenry, securing their pursuit of legal freedoms in a hugely unequal, violent society. Something else Judge Lau said—that Section 144 of the CrPC cannot be used as an instrument of repression—offers a clue. The structure of power in which the police are embedded is still that of the colonial era, where the people are seen as the enemy.

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