PUNE: “Curse me, hate me, wish me dead, I will be still be there when you need me, says a quote about cops on the Internet” which fits in with the Pune or Maharashtra police who are working 24x7 for the safety and security of citizens, but are hated and cursed by some of the people whom they are serving.
The assault on a traffic cop by the husband of a judge at Swatantrata Chowk, Karve Road on Wednesday is the latest incident which substantiates the records of Maharashtra police, which states that more than 4,500 cops were assaulted across Maharashtra between the year 2012 and 2016.
In year 2012, then Mumbai police commissioner Satyapal Singh issued a circular in the wake of rising attacks on policemen. The circular laid down strict action such as arrest, refusal to issue passports, and recommend cancellation of driving licences of offenders involved in assaulting police officers. But, nothing seems to have changed. Nonetheless, inaction against such miscreants affects the morale of policemen who are the victims of such attacks.
A traffic policeman attached to Chatuhshrungi Traffic Division, on condition of anonymity, said, “The traffic constable attacked on Karve Road was just doing his duty. One can see in the video that he was chased and beaten up by the man whom he stopped for violating traffic rules. The video of his assault was circulated everywhere, his wife and children must also have seen that. Just imagine how they must be feeling. It’s humiliation for him and his family as well as the entire police force.”
“Out of 50 traffic violators stopped by us in a day, only 5-10 accept their mistake and the rest argue and abuse us,” said the cop.
“Some violators threaten us by showing off high connections. Most of these people are from political parties or know some corporator or MLA,” added the cop.
According to a report of Maharashtra police submitted to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in 2016, Mumbai has the maximum number of cases related to assault on police officers. Thane stands second and is followed by Pune and Nagpur. On an average, three police officers are assaulted in Maharashtra in a single day and most of them are from the traffic branch.
A senior police officer, on condition of anonymity, said, “Many a times in high profile cases of such type, the police do receive calls from influential people who ask us to quash the matter.”
When contacted, Ravindra Kadam, Joint Commissioner of Police said, “Cops do feel demoralised in such cases, but we try our best to boost their morale. In this Karve Road incident, the man who assaulted the cop has also filed a cross-complaint. We are investigating the matter and will take appropriate action against whoever is guilty. If miscreants in such cases get convicted, we will act against them as per the guidelines of circular and levy strict penalty on them.” Former commissioner of Pune/Mumbai and present Member of Parliament from BJP Satyapal Singh said, “Miscreants who assault cops should be dealt with strictly. If a policeman himself doesn’t feel safe, how will he protect other citizens? I had issued the circular then in Pune as well as Mumbai to teach a lesson to such miscreants so that the morale of the force can be held high.”
Ravindra Sengaonkar, Additional Commissioner of Police said, “The man who assaulted the traffic cop has filed a cross-complaint. His daughter has alleged molestation, but we are going to investigate and verify whether the complaint is valid. If the attacker is at fault, we are going to take strict action against him as per rules of the circular.”
According to the book ‘Police In India, Problems And Perspectives’, chronic police stressors include neglected family life, job boredom, quantitative overload, noxious physical environment, poor communication channels, lack of support from senior officers, inadequate praise and rewards, procedural injustice, role ambiguity and role conflict. A police officer has to deal with such problems in her/his day-to-day life.