KS Ram*, 40 tells Brijesh Pandey that a couple of faux pas can’t be used to portray the police as an insensitive institution
The Noida Police is in the news again. For all the wrong reasons. A few weeks ago, a 17-year-old girl was gangraped by five boys in the satellite city. In a major faux pas, the Noida SP revealed the victim’s identity at a press conference. Though he was criticised for the lapse and faces an inquiry, it once again highlighted the insensitive side of the police. A middle-level officer posted in Noida talks about why the force is unable to mend its ways. Excerpts.
Why do cops behave insensitively towards rape victims?
I don’t buy that argument completely. Yes, there have been errors but you can’t treat some isolated incidents as the norm. Even in the case that you are referring to, all the accused were arrested immediately.
Why are such incidents on the rise?
If you want an honest answer, then I would also hold the girl and her parents equally responsible. The bastards who committed the crime should be punished but we have to also look at the fact that the girl and the boy were known to each other. She willingly went to meet him and this was not the first time that they were meeting alone. On that unfortunate night, the situation went out of control. I would also like to ask the parents how come they allowed the girl to go out all alone. Were they aware where she was going. Wasn’t it their responsibility to keep a tab on her? Too much independence in the name of modern culture is not justified.
What about this modern culture that you aren’t comfortable with?
This is my second year in Noida and it took me a while to get adjusted to the culture of some sectors here, which are more in sync with south Delhi. The kind of crowds that come to the pubs and malls are such that I’m surprised that physical assault is not the order of the day. I’m not trying to justify rape or assault but I also believe that it is the duty of both the boys and girls to behave responsibly. The media covers only rapes but many a time we have caught young couples getting cosy in cars in isolated stretches of these villages. What is the need to indulge in such activity?
Are you trying to say that a girl invites rape because of what she wears or how she conducts herself?
Not at all. But parents should closely monitor the kind of clothes their daughters are wearing. Indecent clothing does provoke people and it is unfortunate if somebody loses his mental balance and commits a crime. I’m not trying to defend the act, but then the girls should also realise that if something can provoke somebody, they should try not to do it. Go to the mall and pubs and you will be shocked to see how brazenly these kids behave — openly drinking and dancing. We come across so many cases in which assaults have taken place under the influence of alcohol and people don’t come forward to report them. What about those crimes? Are we responsible for that as well?
But isn’t there a lack of trust in the police force?
Maybe. But how do you discount the fact that it happened because you were not in your senses and it happened with someone you knew intimately. Will you blame the police for that? It’s easy to criticise us but please spare a thought for the constraints we work in. We are an 18th century force operating in the 21st century.
*Name Changed To Protect Identity
Brijesh Pandey is a Special Correspondent with Tehelka.
Article first published on 31 Mar 2012.