1,000 students band together to decry harassment of lower rank personnel, lack of proper amenities
The children will restore their parents' dignity. Taking up the fight against the harassment of lower rung police personnel and the lack of proper amenities for them, over 1,000 students have joined hands to form the Maharashtra Police Boys Sanghathana.
Siddhant Bagul (right), a 21-year-old BPharm student and member of the group, with constable Pramod Patil's wife, Yashashree, and their four-year-old daughter, who have been on a dharna at Azad Maidan since Wednesday, demanding an end to harassment within the police ranks. Pic/Bipin Kokate
The group is the brainchild of Rahul Dubale (29) from Beed, who was spurred into action by the death of his father allegedly at the hands of goons of a political bigwig.
The Maharashtra Police Boys Sanghathana, formed by Rahul Dubale (left), has taken up the cudgels on behalf of harried and harassed police personnel
Dubale, a science graduate, said his father, an ASI, was assaulted when he tried to close down an illegal liquor shop. "One night, a politically influential person and his goons attacked him. My father was admitted to the civil hospital in a critical condition. Initially, no action was taken by the police. Four days after the attack, my father succumbed to the injuries. Only after I pursued the case were the accused arrested. The case is pending in court."
Determined to end such browbeating and harassment, Dubale started making the rounds of police quarters to ask sons of police personnel to come together and form an organisation to fight for their parents' rights. The Maharashtra and the Mumbai police cannot form any group or union of their own.
The students circulated messages on WhatsApp and found kindred spirits in Mumbai, Thane, Kalyan-Dombivali, Pune, Nashik, Aurangabad, Ahmednagar and Sangli.
The group had recently taken to the streets when a 29-year-old woman constable from Thane was assaulted and abused by a Shiv Sena leader. It also protested the alleged attack by a political leader and the subsequent harassment of police constable Satish Sathe in Beed, driving him to commit suicide.
It has now put its weight behind the indefinite hunger strike of constable Pramod Patil's wife, Yashashree, and their four-year-old daughter, who have been on a dharna at Azad Maidan since Wednesday, demanding an end to harassment within the police ranks.
Siddhant Bagul, a 21-year-old BPharm student and member of the group, who went straight to Azad Maidan after finishing his examination on Friday, pointed out the dismal conditions in which lower rank police personnel live. "The quarters are a mess; they can collapse any time. The salaries are too low for a 16-hour duty. We want the working schedule to be fixed at 8 hours."
Mangesh Bhusare, a resident of Ulhasnagar and BSc IT student, explained that women personnel suffer due to lack of separate toilets for them.
Engineering student Prakash Sawant of Pune said the organisation has no plan of taking the law into its hands. "We will put forth our demands with peaceful protests. We want more and more people to join us."
The students also want to change the negative image of the police among the public.
The group's registration process as an organisation is underway, said Dubale.