Police and public confidence
Law and order, no less than economic and survival
issues, continues to be a principal concern of the ordinary
people of this country. This concern is triggered primarily by
the proliferation of crime and the associated human costs with
ordinary people falling victim to mounting murderous violence.
A case in point was the recent cold-blooded massacre at
Delgoda, where a family of five, including two young children,
was hacked savagely to death by a ghoulish murder gang. A
principal issue which arises from such horrors is, how safe are
the ordinary people from lawless elements?
The law enforcement agencies - including, of course, the
Police - are charged with protecting the citizens of the land,
but the crime rate and its character proves that the task of
enforcing the law is leaving very much to be desired. As a
public-spirited newspaper which has the interests of the people
at heart, we have no choice but to raise this issue of the
satisfactoriness or otherwise of law enforcement, with the
State agencies, including those charged with law-enforcement,
exist for the people and their effectiveness is gauged from the
degree to which the public interest is served. From this point
of view, some of our law enforcement bodies could not be said to
be stretching themselves to the maximum although we do have some
excellent law enforcers in our midst.
The common complaint of the public is that although some
sections of the Police serve them, the same could not be said of
the entirety of the Force. They are not quickly on to the job
when complaints are made. Often the allegation is made that
those members of the public without any kind of influence are
left to their own devices.
Another complaint is that corruption is considerable among
some sections of the Police. Yet another complaint is that some
elements in the Force are not restrained in the use of coercive
force. Stemming from this allegation are the numerous
fundamental rights plaints filed against the Police.
These issues are by no means new and we have time and again
taken them up in this comment. We do not mean to blindly endorse
all these allegations against the Police.
However, there are dangers in being perceived in a bad light
by the public. To the extent to which the Police Force is viewed
with disfavour even by some, to the same extent would it be
devalued by the same sections of the public.
Once again, the Delgoda horror could prove instructive on
this score too. The lawless elements which torched the houses of
the prime suspects in the Delgoda murders, were taking the law
into their own hands because they felt that they could not rely
on the police. This act of taking the law into one's own hands
is despicable and we condemn it most vehemently.
However, it should not have occurred and it certainly would
not have taken place if the Police enjoyed the confidence of all
sections of the public. We call on the Police to treat the
torching as an eye-opener for a greatly improved effort at law
enforcement on its part.