Off the record

Informed choice

“Do unto others just as one would expect others to do unto oneself.” In a shift in their strategy, a posse of police personnel in Jharkhand seems to be following this golden rule for better policing even as the problem of extremism has now ravaged 18 of the 22 districts.

By turning the do-gooders, they have gained the confidence of the locals who, in turn, have become police informers. And the result: naxalites in some pockets are already feeling the heat. It is the cops in Gumla district who have adopted his humane approach. They now involve the youth in their sports activities, help the elderly fetch water and don’t mind ferrying students to schools if not busy with official work.

The move has yielded the desired results. Says a police official: “The law has a long arm. It is now easier for the cops to crack a case as they enjoy public support. It’s been quite some time since we started building a rapport with the locals.”

Speaking on the support from locals, another police officer said: “We have won their confidence and now we are getting valuable information such as naxalite movement, their number and plans. This was not the case earlier as we did not mingle with the people.”

Last year, as many as 25 naxalites were arrested and the police claimed to have uprooted the base of rebels in Gumla. Lending credence to the fact is the sharp decline in the naxal-related incidences in the district.

Sandeep Bhaskar, Ranchi

Tailored morality

Bars and taverns are blamed for being at the root of corrupting society. But not anymore. At least not in Bangalore when the dress code for the languid bar girls comes into effect.
The police’s morality-driven move to have bar girls attired in clothing that cover their skins seems to be getting the full backing of the Karnataka Rakshana Vedike, whose men took upon themselves the role of the moral police a year-and-a-half back when they vandalised the Leela Palace bar which women in skin-revealing clothing frequented.

Rakshana vedike chief Narayana Gowda is confident the police’s dress code would work.
According to him, men’s perception would change when they see sari-clad women in bars and night clubs. In Gowda’s perception men would start respecting ‘these’ women as their “mothers, sisters and wives”. Gowda’s moral imagination is so fertile that he believes men will stop being lecherous creeps in Bangalore’s loud, smokey, dimly-lit bars and pubs. That would be one problem less for the cops to handle.

Ruman Qamar, Bangalore

Hartal fiasco

With today’s Bharat bundh, Kerala would have two shutdowns in just nine days on the issue of petrol price hike and called by the same organisation — the Left Democratic Front. Following the ‘hartal’ called by trade unions in West Bengal on June 26, a day after the price increase was announced, the LDF had also followed suit. The ‘hartal’ which effectively became a bundh as usual brought much hardships to mostly those who were in a long-distance train, bus or flight.

Having endured that agony, many thought they would be spared the trouble for a second time. However, the LDF, especially the CPM, deemed that the BJP which had also called Bharat bundh on Monday would steal the ‘cake’ if Kerala withdrew. “Kerala cannot stay away when the nation is observing a bundh on a burning issue like petrol price hike,” said LDF convener Vaikom Viswan.

However, the decision of the left parties in Tripura not to hold a second ‘hartal’ has stumped the comrades in Kerala and West Bengal. Here is how Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar put it forthrightly: “It would not be proper to inconvenience the people again. So we have decided not to observe Bharat bundh on July 5,” he said.

When asked why CPM leaders in Kerala and West Bengal did not think like him, he said “you better ask them.”

R Gopakumar, Thiru’puram

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