In his 22-year-old-career with Delhi Police, Suresh Singh (name changed), 45, had never felt scared. The recent spate of attacks on policemen, however, has left him and many of his colleagues rattled.
This year, there have been more than a dozen incidents in which policemen have been attacked, stabbed, mowed down by cars, robbed, shot at and killed while carrying out their duty.
“After spending so much time with the force, you should not be afraid of criminals. But the scenario has changed now,” he said.
“People used to respect the khaki but now they treat us like any other common man. I feel this is a fallout of our seniors’ initiative to build a people-friendly force,” Singh said.
Posted in southeast district, Singh’s job is to maintain peace in the area connected with the Noida border. As most parts of the area under his jurisdiction are not developed, patrolling at night is a major concern.
“Older people still respect us. It is the young generation who are short-tempered and don't think twice before killing even men in uniform. There was a time I used to leave for patrolling alone on my bike in the area surrounded by the Yamuna. But now while patrolling, I have to keep my eyes and ears open. Since the area is well connected with Noida, criminals from across the border infiltrate easily,” Singh added.
According to Singh, the murder of a beat constable in Dwarka earlier this year followed by many more such incidents have rattled many policemen.
“My family lives in Haryana and I visit them once in a fortnight. They read such reports in newspapers and get worried. My daughter recently asked me to shift my posting to a police station. But we are here to serve the society,” he added.
After a series of such attacks on policemen, the top brass of Delhi Police have issued fresh guidelines to constables patrolling at night.But Singh said, "Staff crunch doesn’t allow us to follow these guidelines. Sometimes we don’t even get to sleep a wink in 24 hours."