The diminishing fear of Khaki

The diminishing fear of Khaki

Alarming trend

In the last two weeks, newspaper readers and regular followers of the news channels would have definitely come across the debate on a series of attacks on Delhi Police personnel.

On October 11, three alleged criminals open fired on two Delhi Police constables in Connaught Place. On October 13, a constable was gunned down in Vijay Vihar, Outer Delhi.

On October 16, ACP Amit Singh, posted with the Special Cell, was assaulted by three persons including a woman and a juvenile, in a case of road-rage.Though the Delhi Police Commissioner BS Bassi has termed this spate of attacks on policemen (within a few days) as a “coincident”, it s the important question whether the men in khaki have lost their clout and are a vulnerable entity today.

“We cannot generalise the situation. There are still some scrupulous people. Saying that Delhi has, by and large, lost the fear of police won’t be right,” says Muktesh Chander, ‎Special Commissioner of Police for Traffic, Delhi. 

“The traffic police personnel who are on night duty are deployed with personal pistol or revolver, since there is a threat of facing criminals during checking of vehicles. Also, we have devised a proper drill on how a cop should intervene. A constable must take care of his safety and need not behave like a daredevil and stand in front of a truck to stop it! The number of the vehicle can be noted and traced later.”

One also wonders why criminals who are out on parole, commit such crimes which can land them back in jail. Dr Vipul Rastogi, Neuropsychiatrist at Medanta – The Medcity Hospital explains that research shows that “more than half of the people who are convicted criminals suffer from ‘antisocial personality disorder’.

 They can be considered as psychopaths who are unable to understand other people’s feelings. Since they have already been to jail, they have lesser fear of it as compared to others. Also, they consider themselves as a ‘victim’ rather than an ‘aggressor’ and consider the system at fault.”
The doctor mentions that though criminals tend to vent their anger on policemen who don’t have a backup, but most of the times such incidents are unplanned and impulsive reactions. “Such as, when a burglar shoots a policeman if he feels trapped inside the house where he went to rob,” says Dr Rastogi.

While this explanation demystifies the criminal psychology somewhat, but what about the involvement of general public in acts that end up being against the cops. Special Commissioner Chander shares a recent incident when “One of our traffic constables recently lost his life when a group of people in a car ran over him.” 

So would it be right to say that the fear of vardi-wala is disappearing in those who do wrong?

Dr Rastogi elucidates, “In countries abroad police is quite approachable, unlike in South Asia where cops carry a fear factor with them. When fear is used as a concept there is also the risk of retaliation. Though Delhi Police has been trying to change its image in the minds of the people, but such mentality will change only with time.

 The western countries have already had this transition. Also, the herd mentality plays a strong part and if people see others getting away after committing crimes then they think they will escape too.” Isn’t it high time that the punishments become more severe?