'Attacks on policemen now a cause of concern'

Police commissioner B S Bassi is unfazed by the spurt in attacks on his men – two constables were attacked on Tuesday night – but experts and former cops see the growing disrespect for men in khaki as a warning sign of intolerance towards law enforcers.

Bassi said it cannot be judge in advance that an individual being questioned at a security picket would attack the policemen.

“This uncertainty is a part of the job for a policeman,” he said, refusing to read too much into the trend of criminals and, at times, common people attacking police.

However, a senior police officer on condition of anonymity said that the attacks on men in khaki hinted at disrespect for police.

He cited the example of an attack on cops in Bawana by relatives of two road rage victims a few weeks ago.

“Call it the (Arvind) Kejriwal effect,” said the official, adding that the anti-establishment movement in Delhi had grown strong in recent times and police were facing its consequences.

A traffic policeman agreed. “People think they are bigger than the system.

The image of the police force has been tarnished – partly because of lapses of policemen and partly by politicians who openly slam law enforcers,” he said.

“There was a phase in recent times when even errant autorickshaw drivers used to mock at traffic policemen on road, saying that the men in uniform had been stripped of all powers and could not touch the autorickshaw drivers,” he said.

The senior police official said the ideal situation would be in which, there is fear of the law and not fear of the cop.

Former Indian Police Service officer Amod Kanth said Delhi Police is the biggest and the most efficient force in the country yet incidents of attacks on men in khaki keep taking place.

“What we see is the symptomatic expression of a social phenomenon of disrespect for law,” he said.

Kanth said Delhi has the most intolerant and law disrespecting people as compared to other cities.

“One indication of this is the high number of traffic rule violations and challans issued in the city in a year. The figure is many times more than the annual figures for 4-5 metro cities put together,” he said.

He also blamed Kejriwal’s protest near parliament in January for disturbing the people-police balance.

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