for all the wrong reasons, with innocent civilians at the receiving end. Instances of custodial violence including murder and sexual abuse are nothing uncommon in the State. The situation typifies the growing dehumanisation of the police and security forces.”“A major reason behind police brutality is that more often than not, members of the police succeed in getting away after committing serious crimes. To stop the men in uniform from riding roughshod over human rights, the administration and the judiciary need to display greater vigilance. Civil society groups too have a role in this respect. But most importantly, the police itself has to set its house in order for
redeem its eroding image. Sensitising the police to human rights is an imperative need to check its dehumanisation. There is an urgent need to inculcate in the members of the force a sense of respect for human rights and dignity,” the editorial concluded.The Sentinel, another major English daily of the region, termed the policemen of such brutality as ‘criminal elements because they have a criminal tendency to pull the trigger at unarmed people without there being any reason to take someone’s precious life.’It also added that the common people today are so afraid of the police as the ‘men in uniform’ try to assert all the time, ‘‘Look, we are policemen. You must do whatever we say. Don’t you know what we can do?We can put you in lock-up and you can’t do anything. We can even shoot you down.The editorial also raised a pertinent question, “What would the same PSO do if he were to confront a terrorist with far more sophisticated weapon? What would the PSO do if his boss’ precious Scorpio were to be hit by a minister’s convoy? Would the cowardly PSO still pump bullets into the chest of the minister or his security men? What would the PSO
do if in place of the truck there were SULFA men in their expensive cars?”Facing the heat of wide spread public outcry, the Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi immediately ordered actions against the SP and asked for an enquiry (to be probed by the principal transport secretary Alok Kumar). Gogoi, who also holds the Home portfolio, assured that the guilty policemen would be punished.The issue reached the State Assembly as well, where it was informed by the government that the SP Sarma was suspended from service and also the PSO Roy was arrested in connection with the July 9 killing. The State government also announced an ex-gratia of rupees three lakh to
the next kin of the victims.Amazingly, the incident gave opportunities to the banned United Liberation Front of Assam to condemn the attitude of the police and armed forces. In a statement issued to media, the ULFA argued that those ‘men in uniform’ were empowered by the ‘colonial constitution’ of India to kill the innocent people.The outfit, which has the ‘credit’ of slaughtering thousands, including the children and women, in its three decade-long armed movement against New Delhi for a ‘Swadhin Asom’ (Independent Assam), also appealed to the people of Assam to raise voices against such atrocities by the police and finally stand unitedly against New Delhi.
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Nava Thakuria, who serves as a special correspondent for The Seoul Times, is based in Guwahati of Northeast India. He also contributes articles for many media outlets based in different parts of the glove, and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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