Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Imposters find it easy to masquerade as cops

Mumbai: Monday morning, MidDay covered a story Man saves female friend, himself from being abducted by 'cops'

This one case got the attention only because the real police confronted the role players, of course by chance. However, this seldom happens. I'm of the view that many youth who move on the streets of Mumbai often encounter such events. The characteristics of a typical Mumbai cop are what make them an impossibility to be distinguished from the fake ones.

Ingredients: loud, rude, impolite, abusive, frustrated and revolting. Add them to your persona and there you're ready to eat the gullible innocent youth enjoying the night life of the city. Having said that, the above characteristics are only descriptive of a few but significant number of lower rank officers in the larger lot of real good, hardworking men. But these few men who need lessons on being polite discredit the institution. These fake cops thrive on the very atmosphere of fear and disgust that many have about the police.

Solution: Police is for the people, and not the reverse. By that logic if we reconfirm the faith of every common man on the street in this institution, I think it'll be easier to identify imposters. It's a commonplace in the city to see an undesirable behavior towards hawkers, vendors on the streets, and least to say even ordinary men who approach the Police. If from top to bottom, the entire system gets effective citizen friendly training to boast a healthy, fair and friendly communication, the people will have a better impression about the Police. Bollywood, of course had an age long affair towards tarnishing the image of the Police system. They're shown as corrupt, merciless, ruthless and agents of goons and blood sucking politicians.

This incident is reminiscent of what had happened with me a year ago this time, and however I still don't know whether the cops who stopped our auto ride from Juhu to Irla, where my friends and I were passengers, were real or fake. They had baseless, unnecessary arguments and lame threats of taking us to the Police station. I'd not want to give a detailed narrative of the event, however I'm sure many may have had such encounters and many may have just given them whatever they wanted to get rid of them.

Precaution: Usually a fake or an imposter would stop you if you've a female company. They might look for an empty street to stop you and their first question would be to confirm who the female companion is. In this case it'd be rather better if you look for opportunity to stop where there are people or a shout can alert anyone patrolling. The law gives the power to a patrolling officer to check your Identity and ask you general questions about where you're going. However, without any cognizable offence you can't be detained. This means any police, fake or real, as per his fancy can't forcefully take you to the Police Station without any genuine grounds.

Further reading: D.K.Basu vs. State of West Bengal (1997) AIR 1997 - a landmark judgement by the Supreme court that lays guidelines on arrest, detention and interrogation of any person. 

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Faraz Salat

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Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Admirer of all things that make up a global human society.