Decades of "partisan policing" has resulted in an "unprecedented" level of public distrust and fear of police across India, an international human rights watchdog has alleged in its latest report.
In the report on the functioning of Indian police, the US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) claimed that only people with powerful connections can be confident of getting police assistance in the present system.
"Decades of partisan policing -- politically motivated refusal to register complaints, arbitrary detention, and torture and killings sometimes perpetrated by police at the behest of national and state politicians -- have resulted in an unprecedented level of public distrust and fear of police," it claimed.
Active in more than 80 countries, Human Rights Watch monitors rights violations and issues detailed reports.
The rights body claimed in its report that police in all ranks in India say that they fear "reprimand or punishment" if in course of doing their jobs, they act against individuals with political connections.
"In a culture of shifarish (favouritism), only Indians with powerful connections can be confident that they will obtain police assistance," the report said.
State and local politicians "routinely" ask police officers to drop investigation against people having connection with them and harass their political opponents on "false charges", it said.