mid-day editorial: Nothing right about assaulting police on duty

The Legislative Council heard on Wednesday, that 62 cases had been filed in Mumbai till February against people for manhandling or assaulting policemen on duty. This is the highest for a city in Maharashtra. What is more alarming is that out of these, charge sheets in only seven cases have been filed. The larger picture shows that the state registered 179 such cases, of which only 19 have reached the charge sheet stage.

One learnt this through a written reply given in the Upper House by CM Devendra Fadnavis to a question by Vikram Kale of the NCP. Reports state that besides Mumbai, most such cases were reported from Thane (17), Aurangabad (13) and Pune (12) districts. While no charge sheets were registered in Thane and Pune, only two cases reached the court in Aurangabad. This paints a very poor picture of Mumbai. While the media is rife with reports about police high handedness, we hear very little when the police are targeted.

People take advantage that the sympathy usually swings towards the public, it is the common perception that the man or woman in uniform abuses power, uses force, and is corrupt. While this may be true in some cases, it is certainly not true in all.

There are so many cases of road rage, in which, cops are the targets of abuse and even assault. Recently, we saw a man threatening to throw a policewoman down from a flyover. Shiv Sena leader Shashikant Ganpat Kalgude was arrested for assaulting a woman traffic constable in Thane when asked to show his driving licence. When it comes to policewomen, the assault is sexual at times. In the Azad Maidan riots in 2012, when a martyrs’ memorial was desecrated, policewomen were molested. Human rights activists so quick to raise their voice when the police resort to violence, were conspicuous by their silence, here. While delays in taking such cases to their conclusions is disappointing, it is a matter of great shame that Mumbai leads in assaults on police on duty. There is no justification in assaulting a cop on duty. Mumbai needs to change its ‘No 1’ standing in the State, or this one soon.

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