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Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Encounters with the Indian Police

Encounters with Indian Police
As a kid, my only opinion of the Indian police was formed thanks to Bollywood movies. I considered them some guys who arrived after everything happens (like beating up the bad guys) to arrest the bad guys.
Later, I encountered various types of Police: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The Good

During our medical entrance exams, there was a big mismanagement. After admissions in the first year, the matter went to court and re-admissions were considered. There was a lot of dispute over it, and the concerned High Court judge issued an invitation to all the first year medical students to attend the session. He thought their opinion should be taken into account. This wasn’t a very smart move, because most of the students regardless whether they had any opinion wanted to attend. (at least those who were located in Mumbai)

We bunked college to attend the hearing. There were so many students that they had to shift the session to Court Room no. 46. What a crowd had gathered! We would have given tough competition to the central railway II class compartment in terms of density. It sure gave the police department hypertension for they had to regulate the crowd. In my first encounter with the police, they passed with flying colours. The harassed police officers didn’t resort to their lathis, not even a swear word.

It was all like, “Please, calm down.”

“Don’t push. you’ll crush each other.”

“Arrey, Thamba. Darwaja Ughadnar.” (Wait. The door will open.)

When the doors did open, there was a havoc. Everyone wanted to get in, they even pushed the police officers out of their way. The police officers handled the situation like a stern parent. They pacified the crowd, and even managed to prevent injury to the kids or themselves. That encounter left me with a newfound respect for the police system.

The Bad

Have you gone through passport verification? Then, you’ll know what I’m saying.

When I visited the police station, they were cordial. Everything worked smoothly, they had an efficient queue system.

After finishing the verification of the documents, he asked me, “Ma’am, Rs.- for the form.”

I readily obliged. It was all so casual that till I was halfway home, I didn’t realise that there wasn’t any fee for the form. I had already paid the total amount at the passport office.

Bribe has become so much the part of the routine, that we don’t recognize it sometimes.

Still Bad

In industrial areas, night time robbery has become rampant. Instead of searching the thieves, the general police response is, “Do you know who it is? How do you expect us to catch them?”

One of the owner, after being a victim twice, installed security cameras. The third time, he knew the thieves. They were underage drug addicts.

The police response- “What’s the use of arresting them? They’ll be out of jail by the next day.”

Needless to say, no FIR was ever recorded.

The ugly

This was the event that took place two years after the first event, the year there was a hike in the fees of medical colleges. I was a third year student then. My college, GDC or as you know it, St. Georges Hospital, is the centre of medical admission.

Most of the XIIth passed students, hoping to pursue medical studies, had gathered for a protest against the fees hike. The protest was in front of our college, right inside the compound.

Our college suddenly received high class security measures, our Id cards and bags were checked before entering. I remember joking with the police, whether our college was on some terrorist hit list. We didn’t have this much security even when Abu Salem was admitted in the hospital. The govt. must have considered the kids more dangerous.

We all took this light heartedly until that evening. When the kids refused to leave the place, the police dragged, assaulted them with lathis and injured them. I’m still shocked at the treatment those kids met (who were minors by the way) for a non-violent protest.

If only our police could have given this treatment to the rapists and terrorists instead, but maybe assaulting the kids is easier. Believe me it was unnecessary, if the kids decided to camp there their whole life, it wouldn’t have disrupted any activity. We had other gates, you know. And even if it was the only essential thing, wasn’t there any more human way of dealing with the kids?

The Doubt


Would any girl by herself enter the police station to lodge a complaint? After the Marine Drive rape incident, most of them wouldn’t. Some of the police are more of a threat than the ruffians. Since, these people don’t have tags, identifying the evil is difficult, and the whole police system seems scary to the common man. There is always a lingering doubt associated with their conduct.

The story of numbers


Do you watch series like Crime Patrol and Savadhan India? Then, you must be impressed by the number of cases that are solved. This always reminds me of a small story I heard as a child. 

There was an Devi temple, famed for its answered prayers. Every time, the Goddess answered anyone’s pleas, he tied a small bell in the assembly room. The assembly room was soon filled with tinkling bells. The temple attracted more and more visitors.

One day, when the priest explained the bells to a child accompanying a a devotee, the child marvelled at hundreds of answered prayers. He asked, “What happens if the Goddess doesn’t answer your prayers? How do you count those people?” 

A lot of solved polices are applauded which is indeed a good thing. What about the unsolved cases? What about the cases which aren’t even recorded? Indian Police force is notorious for not registering FIRs to decrease the number of unsolved cases.

The Verdict

What do I think of Indian Police officers? Are they the good, the bad or the ugly? The answer is, they are human. There are some officers who are the best of humankind, others the worst. They reflect our decaying society, the increasing loss of integrity, and corruption.

What about our Police system? Remember, Asrani from Sholay, ‘angrez ke zamane ka jailer’? Sadly, our whole police system is still ‘Angrez ke zamane ki’. The police still worry about law and order, the govt. authorities, but not the common man. The Indian Police system isn’t in place to protect the common man, but to control the common man.

Any system is only as strong as its weakest link. The weakest link in the Indian Police system is rotten. Every year some of the bricks of the system collapse taking with them hundreds of innocent lives. The system is in need of total rejuvenation.

This post is written as a response to Indispire.

Have you had any encounters with our Police? What do you think of Indian Police system? I would love to hear your views.


  1. Right..the whole system is corrupted...still there are some honest persons who are trying to work independently avoiding the political pressures and that's why some cases are getting solved...

    1. Yup, we have to thank those honest people for being there for us. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Well written. Excellent post.

  3. A well written and balanced post

  4. Well written Kiran. You have analysed all aspects the good, the bad and the ugly. The story of the Devi's unanswered prayers was a nice comparison .. good one.

    1. Thank you Kokila. I love that story, the author must be smart.

  5. Nice post and very well written.

  6. I like the way you have drafted the flow of your post. Not just highlighted the worst but the good too and your take on it made it complete. Very well thought Kiran.

    1. We have a habit of forgetting the good side when busy criticizing. Thanks Shweta.

  7. Very balanced and relevant post, Kiran.
    You have shared the right incidents. I was nodding in agreement!
    They ask money for police-verification for passport- money for doing their duty...

    Guess what? Even I have shared the same point about Hindi Movies- Police comes at the end!

    1. Thanks Anita. I read your post. You are a Hindi movies expert.

  8. Apt words Kiran....can't agree more

  9. A balanced post Kiran. I'm really glad that people are thinking from both sides of the coin. Sharing the incidents, you have brouught your post closer to reality.

    Good one. !

  10. This is a really good article. I feel since police is the upholders of law in the society their integrity and moral should be higher than the general public but the case is opposite.

    1. I agree with you. Doctors and Policeman should have integrity than general public. Their profession demands it.

  11. A nice balanced perspective Kiran, the good bad and ugly parts are very well slotted. Last time I was caught for not having an insurance with me while riding the bike. I told him that I had it at home and in fact even produced it in front of him in the next ten mins.

    He said - "You did not have it when I checked you and you have to pay the fine"

    What do you say for something like this? I still feel very irritated about myself that I fell for this!

    1. Every time, such incidents happen, we feel frustrated. The traffic police are the worst. They look for reasons to extract bribes and sometimes invent a reason.
      Thanks for sharing.

  12. I too think police (and even politicians) are a reflection of the society. We find all kinds of ppl. everywhere. What worries me is, ppl. are only getting worser by the day!

    Destination Infinity

    1. It is worrying but there are some good people who sustain humanity. They always will. Thanks for stopping by.

  13. A recent example of good that I spotted was when the policeman caught an auto driver who was refusing to take passengers. Wrt bad I had a similar experience during my daughter's passport verification. So yes we do get to see all these faces from time to time.

    1. That we do. The policeman are a great help against unruly auto drivers.
      Thanks Somali.

  14. It was a nice read Kiran. As you have said there must be a good side. Not all police personnel can be bad. But as a whole I don't have much respect for Indian police and politicians. My encounter with police happened when I applied for passport. Had to visit the police station for verification formalities. They asked for money from us, very politely ..."muh mitha karne ke liye" ... :)

    1. Thanks Moon :) Everyone who has a passport in India shares the same view. :)


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