Tough duty hours and the stressed lifestyle of the Mumbai police force claimed yet another life on Saturday evening. The incident that took place inside Vakola police station shook the entire force more as it was unlike the thousands of other cases in which policemen ended up committing suicide or suffering strokes due to work pressure.
In a fit of anger, an assistant sub-inspector shot four rounds from his revolver on a senior police inspector and his operator.
The incident has brought back memories of May 2003, when a CRPF jawan Ramnarayan Namdeo, distraught at being refused leave to go to his native place in Madhya Pradesh, shot dead his superior and held six people hostage at gunpoint at Mumbai’s international airport. The hostages were freed after a dramatic rescue operation.
This is not an isolated case. A few months ago, a sub-inspector from the Cuffe Parade police station went missing after the DCP entered negative remarks in his records.
Bad blood between superiors and lower rank officers is the prime cause of such incidents. Instead of reporting their grievances to higher ups and wiping out their differences, junior staff often bottle up the anger and frustration, which eventually leads to such extreme actions.
On the other hand, it is equally important that senior officers understand that applying pressure is not the only way to deal with overworked subordinates. Just like the force holds monthly conferences to keep the crime rate under control, seniors should also hold regular counselling sessions to address any problems. A proper forum or committee where staff can air their grievances would be an ideal solution to put an end to such violent outbursts.
Such a forum should also take care of staff leave and weekly and ensure equal distribution of workload amongst all ranks of officers.
After all, Mumbai’s finest certainly deserve to be treated better in return for their commendable service.