What makes the Indian police in general behave very much like the much despised cartoon strip character - the joker? The infamous joker lurks in the shadows ready to spring on and terrorize innocents. And by and large does not the average cop behave in the same way? He hides next to the turn under a tree to fine you for jumping a light and then demands a bribe; he takes a hockey stick and smashes property and puts innocent women behind bars on trafficking charges; and only yesterday he dragged a young women from her car in Andheri and slapped her and locked her on a charge of indecent behavior in public!
What really is outrageous in this rash of incidents occurring with alarming frequency all over the country is not the way the cops are behaving but rather our acquiescence and silence for their criminality. And in places like Mumbai these cops are egged on by an entire constituency of people which support this outrageous behavior and criminality. Many of these people have divested in these cops there warped ideas that these ‘jokers’ are our morality keepers and they have every right to go around slapping youngsters, abusing them, subjecting them to illegal blood tests and basically terrorizing them in so many different ways. Be that as it may I promise you that when the next terrorist attack occurs in Mumbai (God forbid!) these morality gatekeepers would have disappeared or would be in hiding from public view and accountability.
There are two important issues involved in this developing rash of criminal episodes. Many of these cops come from lumpen backgrounds and harbor deep resentment towards people who have risen in life due to hard work and entrepreneurial abilities. Then there is a sizeable middle class constituency which is terrified by the changing social order and divests in these cops their faith to keep their very own children in check. When cop resentment merges with skewed middle class aspiration an aberration develops where the trustees and guardians of law become the biggest predators who scrounge around for perverted sociological gratification. Many parents do not realize that a brush with a perverted cop could scar their children for life.
The second issue involved here is the real role of the police in our society. Honestly does any sane person feel safe or comfortable interacting with any policeman? Why have things come to such a pass? Perhaps the answer lies in a famous line from the film Ardh Satya, released many years back, in which Smita Patil tells the cop Om Puri that he is a victim of his own cop environment. If you stay in the muck then you will be covered with muck one day. Cops are authorized to uphold the law and not to create their own and impose on the people.
It is a useless and pointless debate, taken up by the bleeding hearts that cop aberrant behavior results due to politician diktat and interference. My point here is that no one forces a cop to join the police force in the first place. You join the force out of free will. And you are duty bound to uphold the law and if you step out of it then liberal arguments should not come in the way for taking these cops out of the system and making them pay with prison terms for their criminality.