Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Yesterday I got to spend some time in the Police station- NO, I wasn’t busted by police, just went there to meet a old friend.
Early in the morning, I went to the lodge where he was staying. I was welcomed by this cute little one.
As I went up and asked the room boy which is room no xyz (note: exact room no withheld due to security reasons), the room boy asked ಯಾರ್ ಸಾರ್? ಪೋಲಿಸ್ನೋರ? (police person?) and guided me in. TV9 was showing some rowdy being killed in police encounter.
After initial pleasantries, he got ready and we went to his station. Our first encounter was with a civilian dressed official from traffic police dept, who’d complained that some unknown guys rounded him up and beat him heavily while he was having food. Since the victim couldn’t identify/suspect anyone, Sunil asked his assistant to meet the restaurant owner (where this guy was having food) and collect more information from him to investigate.
One person had come to collect is 1987 model Yahama RX135- Police had seized it as it had no proper number plate and rider didn't have any documents. Now that he came with original RC book which was almost deteriorated, the vehicle was examined for correct engine no, chassis no and then handed over to the owner, with a warning to fix the number plate immediately.
We went inside, there was a man against whom there was a complaint that he always beats his wife. Another person was also held for repeated petty crimes. Both these people pleaded innocent during initial interrogation and were asked to wait. There was an cupboard in his chamber which was double locked. for a moment I thought- If the one in Police station needs double locking, how safe are things outside?
Since Peenya is an industrial area and has workers from outside the state it has very low recovery rate for thefts. Unlike other places where the thief resides locally and tries to sell the stolen goods locally, thefts in Peenya happen wherein outsiders steal something while returning to their home towns and that becomes very difficult to trace (this is a typical scenario, need not be always)
Computerization of police department has been minimal and there’s still huge volume of paperwork that needs to be done for every small and regular activity. Despite some recent recruitment, there’s still severe shortage of staff. Lot of efforts are also spent in dealing with politically motivated escalations.
I got to have a closer look at his official weapon, which was heavy (about half a kilo when loaded). I’m told this weapon has a very short range of 30 meters, can fire 10 bullets per magazine and is practically ineffective against modern weapons. On his table, there was a booklet published by the commissioner of police, which included photos and description of all petty offenders in the city. Then came a call from an MLA, who said “ನಮ್ ಹುಡುಗ್ರನ್ನ ಯಾರೋ ಹೊಡ್ದವರಂತೆ, ಸ್ವಲ್ಪ ವಿಚಾರಿಸಿ ” (someone has beaten up our boys-check on that).
An auto driver and his passengers arrived at the station. Passenger complained that “I travel from place x(I forgot the name) to Jalahalli cross everyday and fare comes to around 73-74 rupees, today meter has crossed 90 rupees and still I’ve not reached-there’s something wrong with the meter”. Auto driver insisted nothing wrong from his side and said his meter is correct. After taking auto details and promising a check, a compromise was arranged between both parties as an immediate resolution.
As we spoke, I introduced him to the idea of facebook and twitter, since he is still relying on orkut for social networking. However he had no time for this as work was piling up.
There was roll call to be done (assigning daily task to all staff). The constable doing the duty of sentry had to be relieved, but his replacement was not around. teams had to be sent out for regular patrolling, for specific investigations and visitors and their complaints had to be attended to.
I asked him for his opinion on VS Acharya, he said Acharya sir is very honest and respectable man.
As I was getting late, I took leave and left. Wishing him all the best and good luck Bengaluru Police
Related: Encounter Dayanayak * Home Minister VS Charya’s Blog *
November 2010 Update:
Below is a brief video about India's reputed police officer, Kiren Bedi