Mumbai Police Commissioner Satyapal Singh yesterday joined the league of prominent men who have in the recent past made absurd remarks in trying to explain the alarming rise in the incidence of violent crimes in the nation.
The commissioner’s overarching and convenient explanation for crimes was the lack of ‘sanskar’ or values in society. And for this void, he chose to hold educational institutions responsible, blaming schools and colleges for ‘not imparting values to children and youngsters’.
The statements were made at an event hosted by the Bharat Merchants Chamber, on the occasion of their 54th Foundation Day yesterday. Addressing the gathering on the matter of the recent spate of crimes, he said, “Hamare schools aur colleges mein jo shiksha di jaati hai woh sanskarheen shiksha dee jaati hai (the education imparted in our schools and colleges is devoid of values).”
Not stopping at that, the city’s top cop also made some bewildering remarks relating the incidence of suicide to ‘English’ education. “Whatever happened in the other states or in our city, I find in them an absence of values. An uneducated man doesn’t commit suicide: this means that education is causing problems. We are imparting such lessons that people have started committing suicide. A majority of those who commit suicide are English-educated learned people.”
Singh isn’t the only one skirting the issue. His inexplicable remarks come close on the heels of the statement made by a BJP MLA that short skirts should be banned as school uniforms, to ‘protect’ them from ‘men’s lustful gazes’.
Rajiv Singhal, trustee of Bharat Merchants Chamber, who was present at the event, tried to translate the commissioner’s statements, explaining, “The commissioner merely wanted to ask why educated people are committing crimes like suicide or rape. He wondered in what way the educational institutions were lacking in imparting the right education to youths.”
Needless to say, persons in the academic sphere did not take very kindly to being scapegoated over the recent spate of crimes. Narayan Rajadhyaksha, principal of New Law College, said, “It is not just educational institutions but also parents and politicians who are responsible for such crimes. No one fears the law, and after committing crimes, the accused will make calls to politicians and avoid arrest and legal consequences.”
T Shiware, principal KPB Hinduja College, said, “The commissioner diverted attention from the responsibility of the police machinery in making the city safe for its citizens. What about the rape case where Sunil More, a police constable, was the accused? Shall we blame the police force for rapes in the city then? Students are in college only for some time. It is also the responsibility of parents to impart culture and values to their children.”
Dr Kavita Rege, principal of Sathaye College, Vile Parle, said, “Schools and colleges do play a crucial role in imparting value education, but not a complete role. Kids and youths look at society, family and films and they inculcate the values therein.”
Arundhati Chavan, president of the Parent Teacher Association United Forum, said, “I think we cannot completely blame the schools and colleges for increasing crime. It is the responsibility of parents as well as the society and media to inculcate good value education.”
Denying that he said anything against the institutions, Singh said, “[You are] quoting me out of context. I had mentioned our education system should be revamped for the purpose of character building. Media wants sensationalism and so wants to create it.”