Video Producer: Aparna Singh
Video Editor: Harpal Rawat
Yatra naryastu pujyante ramante tatra devata
Yatraitastu na pujyante sarvastatrafalah kriya
Gods reside where women are worshipped. Where women are not worshipped, they are not respected; there, even good deeds go in vain. This verse from the 'Manusmriti' appeared in an advertisement for the 'Mission Shakti' campaign of the Uttar Pradesh government. But there is a stark difference between what the verse says and the reality on the ground.
The UP Police's power play in the state has spared neither women nor common people. When in one place, the police are accused of raping a 13-year-old gang-rape survivor, in another, a woman gets brutally beaten up inside a police station.
When police personnel, who are responsible for protecting the law, become criminals, we will be forced to ask – Janab, Aise Kaise?
The Uttar Pradesh Police, infamous for its 'Operation Langda', 'Thoko Neeti', and 'Bulldozer Raj', is facing a slew of allegations. From Lalitpur to Aligarh and Chandauli, several incidents of police brutality have come to light.
13-Year-Old Girl Raped in Lalitpur
A 13-year-old girl was raped in Lalitpur, Uttar Pradesh, in April 2022. The girl went to the police station to file a complaint, where she was raped by the policemen. According to the minor survivor's mother, on 22 April, she was kidnapped by four boys and taken to Bhopal, where they gang-raped her.
After raping her for three days in Bhopal, the accused brought her back to Lalitpur on 26 April. It is alleged that when the girl was called to the police station to record her statement the next day, the station head Tilakdhari Saroj took her to a room and raped her.
The matter came to light when the girl narrated her ordeal during a counseling session. According to Lalitpur SP Nikhil Pathak, an FIR has been lodged against six people. SHO Tilakdhari Saroj has now been arrested.
Even though an FIR has been registered and an arrest has been made, there is no discussion on police sensitisation. Why are police personnel not being educated about human rights? When they are the ones who're committing crimes, who will the common people go to for their complaints?
In another case from Lalitpur, a woman was brutally beaten up by personnel at a police station. The police had accused the woman of theft before beating her up. As of now, both the policemen who thrashed have been suspended.
Another charge against the police was reported in Chandauli, where a 19-year-old girl died under mysterious circumstances during a police raid. Kanhaiya Yadav, a businessman from Manrajpur village of Chandauli charged under the Goonda Act. Police had raided his house, and it is alleged that the family of the businessman was badly beaten up by the police team, after which Kanhaiya Yadav's daughter died.
When the matter escalated, station in-charge Uday Pratap Singh was suspended.
Although Chandauli Superintendent of Police Ankur Aggarwal said that prima facie, it was known that the daughter had died by suicide, after investigation, necessary action was taken against the guilty policemen. However, the girl's father alleged that the police had killed her.
What Did Supreme Court Say About Police Reform?
In 2006, the Supreme Court recommended the formation of the State Police Complaints Authority (SPCA), where people could register their complaints about the police. Apart from this, in a historic decision, the Supreme Court ordered the formation of the State Security Commissions (SSC). The commission's job is to keep an eye on the work of the police.
Despite this, why are the police not working on matters of gender sensitisation, human rights, and mental health? The Supreme Court had said that separate police arrangements should be made for the investigation of crime and law and order. Then why it is not being implemented?
Time and again, the reasoning given for brutality is that the police work under a lot of pressure and they are not able to take leaves even during festivals. But this can't possibly justify crimes committed by police.
As far as the workload is concerned, one must ask why nearly one lakh posts are vacant in the country's various police departments, especially in Uttar Pradesh.
Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai had informed the Lok Sabha in March that about 5.3 lakh posts were lying vacant in many police stations across the country.
According to the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D) data, the sanctioned strength of police is 26,23,225 and the actual strength is 20,91,488. However, 5,31,737 posts are lying vacant as of 1 January 2020. Most of these posts are in UP.
Now, the question is, how can the 'thoko neeti' of the UP Police be curbed? Why is the bulldozer of the law not used on such policemen? And that is why we are forced to ask – Janab, Aise Kaise?