On being a Policeman


By R Bamon

Being a Policeman I just wanted to clarify matters about policing Randomly if you ask any person about what comes to mind when we say ‘POLICE,’ most of them will answer that Police are corrupt, keep torturing people, they are living in a world of their own making etc. That is what usually comes to the mind of the general public. Most often we see that media, human rights activists the Judiciary the NGOs, politicians and even the general public are all against the police.
Unfortunately, sometimes even our family members and friends are against the police. Being a policeman sometimes, I am confused as to who I am working for. Am I in the wrong profession? Am I not working for humanity? Is there something in us that makes us different from other humans? Let us deep dive into this matter.
Firstly what is the purpose of policing? Do we deserve the blame that comes our way? We policemen are also brought up in the same culture as other humans? Some among us are greedy, and that’s the main reason why people hate us. But is there any field in life where there’s no greed and corruption? Whether its Medicine, Engineering, the Judiciary or even in the village administrative there is corruption. The entire society is corrupt. The teenager in the villages, declare their age as 18 only so they can get a voter ID. A girl about to deliver at the age of 15 gets a fake medical certificate and a child is born with this lie. This is how we are raised up.
Some have asked me why being a policeman I cannot even afford to have a house of my own. Society teaches us corruption. When I went for the personal interview for the post of constable I was asked, “Will you be corrupt too?” Seems like they are telling me that the system I am about to enter is riddled with corruption, so will I be able to cope in that system?
Nine years ago when I was not in a service, I also thought policing is a dirty job. But 9 years later I realize that the only department I would ever want to work for is the Police Department. Every day a victim comes to us with a complaint that he wants justice. At the same time a person who commits a crime also comes to us. A victim and a culprit both come to us. Now it is up to us to decide who is right and who is wrong? It’s really a difficult job.
Now talking about manners. Once a traffic constable was on duty at a NO PARKING Zone with instructions not to allow any vehicles to park at the location where he was on duty. A car parked exactly at that place. The constable came and spoke politely with that person, and told him it’s a No Parking zone. The answer he got was, “Who are you? It’s nothing let me park here for a little while, Don’t you know who am I?” How should the constable react? He did his duty but after a while a call came and the constable was asked to apologize to the man who violated parking rules because he is the so-called big man.
Very few respect the ‘No Entry’ board in the middle of the road. The car they drive costs lakhs of rupees but they cannot read the board and they end up quarrelling.
Some blame the police saying that the police security system is getting weaker by the day. The public ask, “What are the police doing? Are they sleeping or what?’ Yes, we too sleep; we eat as well because we are BUT human beings. We do feel tired and hungry. Some people make fun of the police by making memes and funny videos of police sleeping. Some blame that police don’t arrive on time. Do you know why? Because there is somebody out there who is taking advantage of the police and making false complaints.
I remember once a headman of a village kept complaining about the people of his village. Sometimes he would call us at to the village at midnight. When we reach there we would find it was just a minor incident. The headman’s son and his friend got into a drunken brawl. This could have been solved by the village administration. But no, the headman wants to show his power. This is the reason behind police delay in taking any action. In a day hundreds of complaints are received, and sometimes it’s hard to decide where to take quick action and where not to.
A research on why police are overweight found that a police on duty eats once in the morning and there’s no guarantee when he will get his next meal. So, whenever he gets a chance to eat, he eats to the brim. The untimely eating and over eating habits lead to accumulation of fat in the stomach leading to the pot belly and being overweight. Another is the mentality of the people out here. I remember when there was a football match at Polo ground I was on duty at the entrance. We had to check every person entering the ground. Some muttered, “Are we terrorists that you check us?” I told them,“ Sir/Ma’am, let us perform our duty.” But they still do not want to get checked.
Sometimes the so-called VIPs want to take their cars right in front of the entrance. When stopped the VIPs agree to get off the vehicle but their wives are adamant. If we are talking about security then leave us to perform our duties. Don’t look at our nameplates, and say, “We will see you.”
As far as police manners are concerned if every person says, “I am an advocate; I am the magistrate; I am an NGO member,” how can the police do their duties? Coming to the corruption part, are you aware that the police department is one with the least corruption? I know most of you will disagree, but the police department is viewed as the most corrupt because policemen wear uniforms and are dealing directly with the public. Now when a policeman takes Rs 50 from someone, everyone notices him but when a civilian takes lakhs no one take notice.
When the police demand a fine for an offence committed it is visible to all. Hence the police are accused of demanding money from the public. I am not saying that the police are not corrupt. I know some are extorting from the public and because of this the whole department is blamed. In the last 5 years, the police have been blamed mercilessly. Some say they are not fit to be in the police if they cannot make sacrifices for their motherland. I don’t think those who talk of sacrifice would put their own lives on the line.
I too was posted in the border areas, and there were disputes as usual in a place where the Assam government was constructing a bus-shed. The villagers opposed the construction and from there a dispute arose. The villagers informed us about the matter. Immediately our in-charge along with few constables headed to that area. We had no weapons so we carried lathis. When we reached the location we found that from the Assam side the ASP, the Dy SP, the CI was there with around 5 to 6 trucks of forces. What will we do? We had to hide our lathis in embarrassment. After some time, there was a talk between our ADM (who too came with his single gunman) and ADC from the Assam side (who came with two Thars of escort and a truckload of troops). If you have been in the border, you would know. There’s a wonderful saying, ‘elephants in the room and cows in the border.’
Now talking about sacrifice. I have heard people blaming the police for not countering the Assam troops. You know the reasons by now. Moreover, holding a gun does not mean that we free to open a fire on any one under any circumstances. Remember in the past year there was firing between the Meghalaya Police and the Assam Police and one senior officer from Meghalaya Police was injured in the incident. Do you know how much the Government paid him for treatment? Did the media cover the news? No, their mouths are shut and their pens did not drop ink in the paper. Now do you think our jawans will dare to leave a widow and an orphaned child? In the army or any central forces if any of the family members of the soldiers get sick, the medical expenses are borne by the Institution. Do police have such facilities? If a police personnel has serious health problems, he will have to spend his own savings. If he goes for medical reimbursement, by the time he gets the money he will be dead.
If people accuse us of being incapable remember that it is the Meghalaya Police who without the help of the army or para-military forces had wiped off militancy from Garo Hills. It is not that we are incapable; it just that we are used as puppets by our own system. We are humans and we do care for humanity. I remember the day we were sworn into the Police force. Each word is fresh in my mind that we will uphold the sovereignty and integrity of India to the best of our ability, knowledge and judgement and that we will perform our duties well.
While we were in Garo, hills we fought heart are soul against terrorists using our skills and judgement because we are fully aware that they will kill us. Now turning to the border situation some ask why the Meghalaya Police did not counter the fire of the Assam Police. It’s because we are using our better judgement to uphold the sovereignty and integrity of India. The Assam Police firing brutally in an inhuman manner are not our enemies. Even in the midst of a crisis we still use our judgment and choose to respond by running than to react by firing.
There is misunderstanding among the public regarding the Police. The reason is that we are just puppets in the hand of the puppeteer. The audience don’t see the puppeteer. They will always choose to blame the police – the puppets. The newly emerging YouTube news channels and other social media platforms choose to show only the negative side of the Police in any situation because they are uninformed. The only want ‘likes’ and ‘views’ and dehumanize the police.
I ask all who read this article to stop dehumanizing the police. Let’s join hands to fight against social evils. We are all of the same stock and the same value systems. Just look at our state Meghalaya that was once known for moral principles. Now we are known for all the wrong things. Let’s stop fighting each other and join hands for the betterment of our society. We are helpless; our necks are tied with chains. But if you have some empathy you will understand our predicament.