Maha police facing crisis of public confidence and credibility: Civil society
The recent case involving six police personnel from Sangli over the alleged custodial death of a robbery accused and the policemen’s subsequent illegal efforts to burn his body in a bid to destroy evidence has raised many eyebrows.pune Updated: Nov 11, 2017 15:13 IST
A crisis of confidence and credibility seems to be engulfing the state police force as the civil society and citizens have expressed concern over incidents of police high handedness, rash behaviour or collusion with criminals in implementing the law.
The recent case involving six police personnel from Sangli over the alleged custodial death of a robbery accused and the policemen’s subsequent illegal efforts to burn his body in a bid to destroy evidence has raised many eyebrows.
The deceased, Aniket Kothale, was arrested by Sangli city police along with another man, identified as Amol Bhandare, on November 6 for robbing a motorbike-borne man of Rs.2,000 at knife point. Three days later, when the custodial death came to the senior police officials’ notice, a police sub-inspector and five other police personnel were arrested.
In another case from Pune city, a police sub-inspector (PSI) and five policemen who were part of an escort team that brought under-trial gangster Rupesh Marne back to Yerawada Central Prison after a court hearing in Panvel. The six policemen were suspended on Tuesday on charges of partying with the gangster during their return journey on October 31.
The incident was reported to the Pune police by the jail authorities who stated that Marne was drunk when he reached the jail, after which suspension orders were issued by additional commissioner (Admin) Sahebrao Patil against the officers in question.
In another case, the city police on Thursday invoked the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) against four suspended police officials, advocate Satish Mancharkar and 12 others including notorious criminal Lubya alias Santosh Chintamani Chandilkar, 36, for conspiring to kill a local politician, Kailash Kadam.
Considering the gravity of the situation, civil society members and activists have advocated the promotion of strong police-public relationship aimed at building back the lost confidence and have stressed that an active public involvement and co-operation in the day to day functioning of the police would bring a change in the public perception and improve its battered image.
Vocal civil society activist advocate Netraprakash Bhog said, “The citizens are the victims here as law and order is being taken for a ride by the police themselves. The people today no longer respect the police, which obviously means that law and order is out of question, and the incident where policemen were reported to have had drinks with a criminal has already set a bad precedent.”
Bhog further added that there is a need to rebuild the old system with integrity and values. People have learnt to live with criminal acts happening all around them and don’t fear the police any more, he reiterated.
Joint commissioner (Retd) Rajendra Sonawane said, “I fail to understand why law enforcers are turning into law breakers. Such incidents are not good for the society and also for the suspended constables’ families and children, which is unfortunate. I think it is primarily the greed for money which has led to the creation of this demon-like and destructive mentality in the police department.
Sonawane further added that necessary correction courses like inculcating strong moral values and initiating the modernisation of the police department will bring in the desired change in the conduct and thinking of the police department.
Former police commissioner Jayant Umranikar said that the organisational structure of the police department has weakened and that there was a need for it to be restored back to its original prestige and dignity. “When juniors don’t listen and fear the seniors, then it is a clear indicator that it is time to understand that the organisation structure has become very weak and is on the verge of a breakdown,” he said.