Police: Are they protectors or predators?

Police: Are they protectors or predators?

police reshuffles in SI EXAM SCAM police reshuffles in SI EXAM SCAM

Just after the global sensation of George Floyd’s death in the USA took the entire human race to shock, another brutal murder happened a few days back in Sathankulam, a town located 50 km south of the port city of Thoothukudi in southern Tamil Nadu. But why read a piece of South Indian news here in Northeast India? Here are some reasons why:

  • Northeast India and South India being parts of this very country is almost out from central publications and reports
  • Taboos and racist comments are quite common, mostly on Northeastern people
  • Almost every central General Knowledge book or academic course book deliberately avoids these two regions, their histories, and their importance from the world
  • Last but not least is humanity

Amidst India and Pakistan debate, Chinese and Indian animosity, Bhutan and India’s tension, and COVID-19, there is this problem in the very Indian society that is being cloaked and hidden by the levels of patriarchy. On June 19th 2020, Jayaraj and his son Bennicks (Fenix) were picked up by police for violating lockdown rules. Both father and son run a mobile shop in Sathankulam. However, on the very day of the incident, they were taken under custody for keeping their shop open beyond the permitted time. According to their family, blood-soaked clothes were sent home and fresh clothes were demanded by the police; and this happened for three times. Their knees were smashed with sticks or lathis. Their faces were pinned on the wall while they were hit brutally on their backs and bottoms making them bleed pathetically. Their clothes were stripped off, undergarments taken off and they were thrown inside the jail. On the inside story, they were taken somewhere without CCTV facilities. The police shoved in lathis or batons through their rectums. The eyewitness of the incident stated that their genitals were smashed and mutilated; chest hair plucked out from their body with force.

According to the phoney trial with the magistrate arranged by the police, the two were taken back under custody after which they were pronounced dead: the cause of death being heart failure and fever. The point here is that these two were hardworking individuals who belonged from a lower-middle-class background in Tamil Nadu. Does the question remain why the Government is not doing anything for this? Is it because this time the crime is committed by the law protectors themselves? Until now, two of the officers have been suspended and a few are transferred. But is it what we call justice? Why something so heinous is not covered by the mainstream news reporters? So many questions, but there is only one answer: 'Ignorance is bliss' for the Government.

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This news needs to be recalled and told from time to time to people that how the police, on contrary to being an embodiment of security, can be a medium of spreading hatred and fear at times. Of course, it is not right to curse and defame the entire police force; but have we not heard enough of such news already? Meanwhile, all shops in the district are closed and over 1,000 people staged a protest. The CM of the state is reported to have paid some compensation to the family.

However, celebrities and ministers of the opposition party tweeted condemning the brutality of the police. Back in days when George Floyd's case was in the air, Indians came out with slogans with #blacklivesmatter, but what now? Half of the Indian population is not even aware of the crimes that happened behind the bars. This does not stop here. The case is beyond brutality and violence. It is about breaking the constitution. It is about breaking the very laws of humanity.

How are we not to fear humans and especially those in power? We know that power can only be misused by those who possess it. The law and the government have always been in help of the privileged class. What about us? Is the law equal for the privileged class? We all know that the answer is no but we are afraid to speak it out open. We fear controversy. Also, we don't realise that if we do not speak and address evil, such things will happen again and again. Who knows who will be next? There is no time to address this issue amidst lockdown, but we still can storm for justice. We have to fight for it because we all know that unlike some we cannot buy it.

About the author: Prasant Kumar Ojha is an MA History (2nd Semester) student from Gauhati University.

The opinion expressed are that of the author.

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