How far can you go to lodge your FIR or get justice? What do you choose to do to exercise your rights: Will you commit suicide to gain justice or walk naked on streets to get heard by police or run pillar to post to higher officials or a court every time you want to register a complaint in your local police station. Or will you call news-hungry media channels to gain their support or do you take the easy way out by bribing the already-corrupt police? What would you do when very protectors of law become your tormentors?
If you think, I am getting hassled over nothing. Think again. Think of Rizwanur, recent casualty from West Bengal, who died helplessly fighting against the brute force of police. His only fault that this Muslim guy had married a Hindu girl, daughter of a rich industrialist called Ajay Todi. Read here how police negotiated with Rizwanur to send his wife back to nurse her so-called ill father. And then Rizwanur realized how he had been duped by police and his wife will now never be sent back to him. Few days later, his body was found on railway tracks. CBI is probing his death after West Bengal police was found wanting in credibility. The question is not if Rizwanur committed suicide or was murdered. The fact remains that in either case the police was his tormentor. I would not be surprised if even CBI bungles the investigation of Rizwanur case. I am already losing faith in the system.
I still remember Pooja Chauhan, the lady from Rajkot who had to parade in her underwear on city roads just to register a complaint against her husband and in-laws! I can’t think of more extreme step a woman can take to be heard. Hers was a common story of harassment by her in-laws for not being able to give birth to a male heir. She had been sacked from her house by her in-laws and had been unsuccessfully trying to register her complaint in the local police thana. Our police, corrupt to the tee, refused to entertain her complaint till she made this desperate attempt to garner public/media support by walking nude on the roads. So much for Domestic Violence Protection Act!
This is not a stray incident; there are dozen more that happen everyday right under our noses. Let’s recall heinous Nithari serial killings.
It took Nand Lal, the man whose complaint disclosed Nithari killings to the world, about five months and a court’s order to register a FIR of his 20-year-old daughter, Payal, who went missing in May 2006. Read Tehelka’s eye-opening account of how Nand Lal got his FIR registered. There were countless other poor villagers who had gone to police station to report their missing kids. They were callously told by these police officers that their kids had eloped or ran away from them. How can a city’s police be so corrupt and irresponsible? Could they not decipher the pattern when so many children from the same village went missing? Let alone actively handle the matter, they did not bother to register a FIR until a court’s order forced them to 5 months later!
Almost a year later, what’s the action on Nithari killers? None! Even after the common knowledge that the police officers were corrupt, we are still nowhere close to punish the serial killers who committed such heinous crimes. We have hardly been able to prove if Moninder Singh is guilty nor those police officials who abetted in the crime.
Ah, these are not the only instances when police has refused to act and register a FIR. Few months back, a drunk call center employee ran over two kids. I can not forget the pain in their unfortunate father’s words on television, “Mein apne bachchon ko dafna bhi nahin paya, jab tak ki us bande (accused) kijamant bhi ho gayi!” (Before I could cremate my children, accused had walked free on bail!) Watch this IBN video to know what this grieved father has got to say about the treatment meted out to him by police.
Police would not have registered this man’s complaint were it not for the media intervention in wake of current surge in drunken driving incidents.
Uh huh, if you think such a phenomenon of not registering FIRs is confined to rural people or other lower strata of society, you are mistaken. People in cities routinely bribe law enforcement officials. They bribe the police to register a FIR for their stolen vehicles.
Delhiites shell out bribe even to get their passports made! They pay the police officer who comes for a routine verification of address. Some of them also pay the guy who delivers passport at their homes!
Blueline buses in Delhi have claimed 99 lives (still counting) this year. How? Simple by the connivance with corrupt police. Just bribe, and you get valid licenses for any defaulting bus an qualified bus driver. Who pays the price? The common men and women like me and you. We pay the price with our life.
Looking at Samajwadi party’s campaign in latest election in UP, you can understand the significance of not lodging FIRs or writing “missing” reports instead of “stolen” reports. Such corrupt practices help our law enforcement officials to keep crime rate stats low. No wonder Samajwadi party could boast of low crime rate in crime-ridden UP!
Let’s campaign for the rights of the weak! Let’s knock the courts whenever met with unfairness and unlawfulness! Let’s pitch in for the cause of others or some day we might be standing in place of them.
More about Rizwanur:
- Did cops tap Rizwanur’s phone?
- Loopholes in Rizwanur’s suicide theory
- Rizwanur case: tainted cops removed
- Bengal has a history of mystery deaths
More about Pooja Chauhan:
More about Delhi Blueline buses:
I also write at Visceral Observations.