Many police brutality cases during lockdown have been seen. Mahatma Gandhi once said, “In a gentle way, you can shake the world”. This of course still holds true, but with a lack of intention and a lot of indifference by the citizens, nothing will change. A big challenge even after 77 years of India’s independence is the inclination towards westernisation . And the colonial hangover in which the citizens live.
A recent example of citizen indifference can be quoted when Indians, especially the youth were seen standing with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement in full solidarity after George Floyd was brutalised and killed by a cop in the US in May and here is an example of police brutality. Almost a month later, news about a father-son duo inhumanly killed by Indian policemen in Tamil Nadu came. Again an example of police brutality during the lockdown. Jayaraj and Bennix were sodomised with metal-tipped lathis and thrashed beyond imagination, they succumbed to their suffering. A fifteen-minute delay in closing their shop during the lockdown restrictions cost them their precious lives.
Now, where is the Indian citizen? Is s/he standing with the Tamilian victims? No, I don’t see nationwide aggression towards the indigenous police brutality, I don’t see Indians condemning the horrific murders in unison. Nobody is demanding accountability on the status of the aggressors. Why is this citizen indifference witnessed in India? Maybe because the citizens have no trust in the judicial machinery, the faces they elect or that such incidents take place frequently and are trivialised.
The Nirbhaya gangrape case took place in 2012. All the pieces of evidence were reportedly enough to execute the accused instantly. In 2020, those monsters were finally executed after repeated pleas, petitions, court hearings, mercy pleas. Mercy plea for a monster who committed a gut-wrenching, heinous crime! The anti caa protests in the national capital saw one of the worst riots in India, and yet no action has been taken against the aggressors.
The various cases where police and those associated with the government get excused even after involvement in serious crimes. This is the root cause of the prevalent citizen indifference today! The citizens do not trust the legal system, nor the government and therefore have become cold and indifferent to brutalities!
According to a report by The Hindu, data show that between 2001 and 2018, only 26 policemen were convicted of custodial violence despite 1,727 such deaths being recorded in India. As most such deaths were attributed to reasons other than custodial torture, only a few led to convictions.
Recent incidents suggest the police needs to be policed by the citizen and not by the home ministry. The December 2019 anti caa protests in which students of Jamia were assaulted by the police after barging in the Jamia Milia Islamia (JMI) campus. The Palghar lynching incident where the police were condemned for their inaction; the Tamil Nadu barbaric incident raise questions upon the legality and power that the police are under. What is so helpless that they have resort to such unacceptable violence?