Saturday, 16 October, 2021
E-paper

Check police abuse

Check police abuse

The angry outburst of a ridesharing biker which led him to set his motorbike on fire allegedly in protest of repeated police harassment is just the tip of the iceberg of police abuse on roads. Just a couple of days ago covered van drivers had called for a strike protesting police harassment on roads for bribes. It is an open secret that undue tolls are being raised from all kinds of transports including goods-laden tracks, passenger buses, and easy bikes by a section of unscrupulous police personnel. In case of non-payment of extortion, cases are filed against the drivers.

Armed with this legal protection the police can arrest and harass anyone they fancy without any obligation to give justification or prove guilt. In most cases no convincing reason for the arrest are given and their authoritative power are frequently abused for harassment and extortion. Victims are mostly poor drivers or small traders, that is, common people. This has been going on for years and is believed to be a potent cause for hikes in prices of essential commodities and transport fares. Of late this kind of abuse, like many other abuses of the police, seems to be intensifying. From time to time we see wholesale arrests are made with the sole purpose of taking graft. 

Every year on police week we hear some rhetoric about making police the friend of the people. But in reality various kinds of police excesses have been going on for long, making its public image as forbidding as it is. The way common people are harassed every day goes to show that the police are a law unto themselves.  And as long as no effective reform measures are taken, the helpless public can do little else than tolerating the police misdeeds with abhor and disgust. Alternatively, more people might resort to self-demolition or immolation of their properties or even themselves out of sheer frustration. We hope against hope that the way the ridesharing biker protested will serve as a wakeup call for the authorities concerned.