- There have been increasing cases of police torture against the army.
- The police actions of torture have spread from common man to army personnel.
- The government remains inactive and silent to save its face and does not address the issue.
- Nexus between the police and the politicians helps the police get away with such acts.
- Bomdila police-army incident is one the most famous of police torture against the army.
- The aftereffect of this incident shook the high ranked police and army officials and it reached the doors of the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Defence.
The police force and the armed services are crucial parts and two pillars of the Indian defence system that work to maintain law and order in the country. Where the police’s job is to look after the disturbing elements within the country, the army protects the integrity of the country by standing against the alien forces.
But what happens when these two organisations that are supposed to look after the state enter into constant conflicts and ego tussles? In the past years, it has been noticed that many times one of the two forces has tried to pull down and implicate the other into false accusations and sometimes these allegations have been proved to be true. This trend of continuous allegations and conflicts has been mainly seen in politically sensitive areas such as Jammu & Kashmir, North Eastern states like Arunachal Pradesh and other places where both the forces have been deployed to control disturbances.
It is known that neither of the forces has a clean slate and they have engaged in questionable activities several times in past years. The police had been accused not just once but several times for brutality and torture of common people during arrest and custody which has even led to deaths sometimes and on the other hand, it is also alleged that the army uses force to threaten and terrorise people for the satisfaction of their ego.
CASES OF POLICE BRUTALITY AND TORTURE
Almost every person once in their life has experienced inadequate police behaviour which may be directly or indirectly in the likeness of asking bribes, passing comments, unauthorised arrest, custody into a police station without any reason, etc. These acts of the police are increasing day by day and sometimes the police go to extremes such as causing death to dominate the other party.
One of the most reason cases of police brutality is the one where a father-son duo in Tamil Nadu was arrested by the police and beaten and tortured in the cell which led to the demise of both son and the father.
In Uttar Pradesh, On 1 January 2019, Baleswar, a 45- year-old e-rickshaw driver, was in the custody of Aziz Ganj police. He was forcibly taken to Aziz Ganj police post by police personnel for refusing to pay hafta (bribe). The police illegally detained him and seized his e-rickshaw and bet him brutally and when his condition deteriorated, he was taken to a hospital where he died on the night of 1 January 2019.
Torture against army officials
Police brutality is not just restrained to the common man but it has extended to causing torture to army men who have kept their lives on the line for the safety of our country and are faced with discriminatory behaviour.
In a recent case in Uttar Pradesh, a retired army officer with his mother and two sisters was travelling from Pilibhit to Lakhimpur Kheri where he was stopped by the police who enquired about as to where he was headed and the papers of his car. While the officer was searching for the papers, the police grew impatient and started abusing him to which he asked the police not to do so as he had ladies accompanying him. The police got angry with this and started beating him and his mother and sisters and took them to the police station without any justification and beat him up. They targeted his religious emotions by tearing his turban, pulling his hair and threatening to cut them and as per the complaint given by him, he was also sexually tortured.
The police did not stop here and tried to influence the investigation by threatening the doctors, delaying the investigation etc. The worst part about this whole incident was that there was no action taken by the UP Government and they watched this atrocity as a silent spectator when they should have taken the responsibility of punishing the accused policemen and providing justice to the retired army officer and his family.
Bomdila police-army incident
Bomdila police-army incident refers to events that occurred in Bomdila, Arunachal Pradesh when 2 soldiers from the 2nd Arunachal Scouts Battalion (an Indian Army unit) were allegedly beaten up and torture by the Arunachal police. The police alleged that the officers were involved in an altercation with the locals whereas the army said that they were arrested without any cause. After their release, they were admitted to the hospital with serious injuries.
This incident led to a scuffle between the high ranked army officers and IAS and IPS officers of Arunachal Pradesh. The colonel of 2nd Arunachal Scouts Battalion informed the Superintendent of police of West Kameng district that the beating and humiliation of his soldiers has angered his troops and he will not tolerate further humiliation and replying to it, the IAS Association and Indian Police Service (IPS) officers requested the government take action against the colonel.
Like the previous incident, in this incident also, the government’s response was low key and it intended to pacify the issue without addressing it. The incident was called a clash by the then Minister of State Kiren Rijiju of the Ministry of Home Affairs and The Ministry of Defence faulted both the police and the army for the brawl in Bomdila.
The law of our country emphasises the protection of every citizen of the country through Fundamental Rights enshrined in the Constitution and it extends from the common man to public servants and army officials. The army serves the country by obstructing external aggression, restoring internal order and many times during the course of their duty, they have to act in a way that may be detrimental to the society but they are protected under various laws from such acts done in the course of their duty.
The cases of a police officer first and foremost infringe the Fundamental Right envisaged under Article 21 of the Constitution that says that every individual has the right to life and personal liberty and it cannot be deprived for any reason other than the procedure established by law. The army officials were arrested by the police without any just cause and were beaten and tortured to the extreme which violates their right to life and they had to face society which affected their dignity also.
The Code of Criminal Procedure lays down the rights of every arrested person and these provisions have to be mandatorily followed as they uphold the Fundamental Rights. Every person who is arrested has the right to know the grounds for arrest which is mentioned under Section 50 of the Code and Article 22(1) of the constitution but in the Uttar Pradesh case, the retired army officer was taken to the police station without any reason.
The police officers influenced and threatened the medical officers and restrained them from performing the medical examination of the victim fearing that their acts of torture will be on record. Section 54 of the CrPC gives the right to every person to be examined by a medical practitioner so that any torture against him by the police can be proved and, in this case, the victim was not given this right.
Section 46 of the Code lays down the arrest of women can only be made by a lady police officer but in the instant case, the mother and sisters of the victim were beaten up and taken to the police station without any aid of lady police officer thus defying the laws.
Were the police justified in their actions?
The police under no circumstances can justify their actions of torturing and beating the army officials and for that reason any common person. They have time and again used their powers and influence to attack people without any cause and justified reasons and gotten away with it. As seen above, the government has remained inactive and silent in punishing the culprit because there is an interconnection between the police and the politicians wherein the politicians in maximum cases are not caught or charged for their activities and enjoy police protection and in favour of that, they protect the police from any action against them that can be taken by the government against them. One of the main reasons that the government remains quiet in such situations is that both walk hand in hand rarely turn their backs to each other.
The high-profile case of UP gangster Vikas Dubey clearly showed the nexus between the police and the politicians. It was speculated that he was in contact with several politicians of the state and he had been working for them for the past few years and his arrest and trial would have led to the exposure of several high ranked politicians. The encounter of the gangster by the police was alleged to be fake, and it was said that the police did so to protect the politicians from getting exposed and their contacts with the gangster.
This interdependency of the police and politicians allows the police to get away from all such acts without answering any authority. They resort to such acts in maximum cases to satisfy their ego as there had been a history of a tussle between the army and the police, but other reasons for such acts can be the political pressure on the police or the need to extract statements and evidence or favour a particular person.
The army profession is one of the highly dignified and respected professions in the eyes of the people and the army person is respected by every individual wherever they go. They have been provided special privileges in the matter of criminal cases against them and have marshal laws that govern and punish them for their activities. Even with these exceptions, they are unable to escape from the unruly behaviour of the police and several times they are caught in between the mess of army and police personnel.
From the cases mentioned above, it can be concluded that the police do not stop their brutality just to the common man and even the most respected army becomes the victim of it and maximum cases they get away with it. Since the police have connections and influence in their areas of service, they are rarely punished and by the time incident reaches the judiciary and gets disposed of, the essence of justice for the victim gets lost. The army officers are governed by the Central Government and the procedure involved and the delay in filing cases reduces their hope of getting justice day by day and the cases very rarely catch the eyes of the public unless they are hash profile or are put up in social media.