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Police Atrocity

The unfair and savagely violent use of power by the police is called police atrocity. The citizens, now-a-days are not treated with dignity by the police officer as expected in a democratic nation. The information regarding the police atrocity is necessary as it explains about the basic disputes that arises from the policing in a democratic nation. Thus, this research paper focuses on what exactly is police atrocity. It also focuses on the people's complaints against the police authority and it's misuse of power.

This research paper covers the topics such as the use of physical and excessive force by the police authority, in which state of India is the rate of police brutality highest, the rehabilitation and compensation and the remedies to the victims of police atrocity, the human rights violation by police, the cases of police atrocity and the different incidents and massacre created by the police authority.

The police atrocity is the misuse of power by the police authority. The police have immense power but they have started misusing it. The powers of police is mentioned in the Police Act, 1861.The main Or primary obligation of a police is to serve the people and protect them from the wrongdoers. It was once a powerful and respectful notion but it has lost its reputation through time.

The use of excessive physical force is not new to the society and with these many incidents of police atrocity, it is understandable that the main duty of police which was to the people and to protect them from the wrongdoers, is not being enforced as it should be enforced. Police atrocity was seen before independence and now it can be seen after independence too. Police atrocity is defined as, "a civil rights violation happened when police use excessive force with regards to a civilian that is more than necessary" (Police Brutality, 2008, para.1)

Who Is Police?

The term "police" has not yet been defined in the criminal procedure code (CrPC) and the Police Act, 1861. But it mentions only their rights and duties. Police can be defined as the department of government which has authority of perversion of public order and detection of crime and for the safety of the people. It is simply defined as any person or group of people developed by the state, whose obligation is to maintain law and order, prevention, detection, punishment and investigation of crime. The police represent the civil authority of government. The function of police is known as policing.

Police are often entrusted with various licensing and regulatory activities. Policing may be performed by several professional organization, i.e., public police force, private security agencies, the military and the government agencies with various surveillance and investigative powers. But the main form of police is the public police force who wear the uniform. They are the most important part of the society. When a person is in need or difficulty or danger, then he does not know what he should do or whom he should approach, the police come out to be the most perfect unit for that person to approach.

History Of Police Department

The police force as an organized body was formed first in England in the 1820's when Sir Robert Peel established first municipal force of London. Before that, policing was done by volunteers and sliders in the military services. Police was formed in India by Lord Cornwallis aa one of the three pillars of British colonial rule while the other two pillars were the civil services and army. Earlier policing in India was performed by the zamindar. Cornwallis established a system of daroga.

In 1976, when the period of emergency was going on, a follower of satyagraha was taken into custody by the police without any registered case against him. He was kept in illegal imprisonment for days and during that period, he was forced to suffer a lot of pain. The police tortured him by stamping on his bare body with their heeled boots, beating with cane on spine, beating with rifle but inserting live electric wire in the body crevices, burning the satyagrahi's body with lighted cigarettes and candle flame, etc.

The Kerala police were more severe than others. They used to strip all the clothes of the prisoners and let them stay in their underwear and then the prisoners were being beaten up by the group of 10 to 12 constables at a time. The police did not give food to the prisoners who were in custody. If the physical sign of beating was too much then they were not taken to the magistrate but they were moved from station to station.

The Police Act, 1861

The police act was enacted on 22nd March, 1861. And it comes under the department of internal security. The police act consists of the rights, duties and obligations of the police towards the state. It is an act for the regulation of police. It is the duty of each and every police officer to obey and execute all his obligations and his duties issued to him by any competent authority or the duties and obligations mentioned under the police act. The police act, 1861, confers the superintendence of the police, in the state government's hands. There is total 46 sections present in the police act, 1861.

If a person is the victim of the misconduct done by the police authority because the police authority was violating any duty or willful breach or neglecting any rules and regulations, shall be liable to be punished under section 29 of Indian police act, 1861.

Therefore, according to section 29 of the Indian police act, 1861, penalties for neglect of duties, etc. --Every police officer who shall be guilty of any violation of duty or willful breach or neglect of any rule or regulations or lawful order made by competent authority, or who shall withdraw from the duties of his office without permission, or without having given previous notice for the period of two months, or who, being absent on leave, shall fail, without reasonable cause, to report himself for duty on the expiration of such leave, or who shall engage without authority in any employment other than his police-duty, or who shall be guilty of cowardice, or who shall offer any unwarrantable personal violence to any person in his custody, shall be liable, on conviction before a magistrate, to a penalty not exceeding three months' pay, or to imprisonment with or without hard labor, for a period not exceeding three months, or both.

Human Rights Violations By The Police

Nothing can tarnish the reputation of the police more than atrocity against persons in their custody. There are several rights which are given to the human beings such as right to equality, right to speech and expression, right to freedom, right to information, right to life, i.e., article 21, etc. Any person cannot be deprived of any of these rights as these are his birth rights. The police have also got many rights and powers.

The police authority is entitled to those rights and powers, to which a ordinary person don't have access. For example, a police officer can ask any person to show his identity and other documents but a ordinary person can't do this. They have the authority to break the traffic rules if they need to but if any ordinary person will do this then he will be entitled to pay the penalty.

Precisely, police officers have got immense power. But they have started misusing it by violating the rights of the ordinary people. stamping on bare body with heeled boots, beating with cane on spine, beating with rifle but inserting live electric wire in the body crevices, burning the body with lighted cigarettes and candle flame, custodial death, custodial rape, asking for sexual favor in exchange of leniency, fake evidence, illegal detention, fake encounter, extortion, false imprisonment, coerced false confession, intimidation, witness tampering, police perjury, unwarranted searches, unwarranted surveillance, police corruption, racial profiling, unwarranted seizure of the property of people, etc. are the few examples as to how the police authority misuses their power and violates the rights of others.

Article 3 of UDHR, i.e., Universal Declaration of Human Rights, provides right to life, liberty and security to all. Article 5 of UDHR provides that not a single person will be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment. Article 9 of UDHR provides that no person shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention. But the police authority violates it all. And they know very well that how to cover their crimes. This police atrocity used to happen before the independence also, but by the Britishers, and today, after 72 years also, the Britishers have left but this crime is not leaving India.

Uttar Pradesh Tops In Atrocities By Police

Approximately 236 cases of atrocities done by the police officers was registered in Uttar Pradesh between 2014 and 2016.Uttar Pradesh was followed by Delhi, where 63 cases were registered against the police atrocities during the same period. According to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), Uttar Pradesh registered a total of 236 cases of police officers for the human rights violations between 2014 and 2016.Total 411 cases of police atrocities was registered in the country during this period, with 57.4 percent of these cases registered by Uttar Pradesh alone. The conviction rate of such cases of atrocities done by the police officers is dismal as only three of them has been convicted between 2014 and 2016.

In 2014, total of 46 cases of human rights violations performed by the police officers was registered in Uttar Pradesh and out of that, 39 were found false after the investigation. Seven police officers were Charge sheeted while three were convicted.

Uttar Pradesh accounted for 47 percent of 108 cases of human rights violations done by the police officers in the year of 2014.

In 2015, a total of 34 cases of police atrocities was filled by the people of Uttar Pradesh, out of that only one case was found to be false after the investigation, in rest 19 cases, the police officers who were involved in the cases were Charge sheeted. No police officer has been convicted so far. In the same year, a total of 94 cases were filed against the police authority in which 36.2 percent cases were from Uttar Pradesh.

With the steep rise, 156 cases of human rights violations by the police officers were registered in Uttar Pradesh out of which 69 cases, after the investigation, were found to be false, while 39 police officers related to these cases were Charge sheeted. However, none of them have been convicted.

In 2016, a total of 209 cases against the police officers for the violations of human rights, were registered in the India and the state of Uttar Pradesh accounted for 74.6 percent of the total cases of the country.

The cases of human rights violations by police personnel include disappearance of persons, illegal detention or arrests, fake encounter killings, extortion, assault on women with intent to outrage her modesty, atrocities on scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, torture among others.

Massacres Created By The Police Authority

Before independence
Jallianwala Bagh Massacre:
The Jallianwala Bagh Massacre is also known as the Amritsar Massacre. It happened on 13th April, 1919. The Jallianwala Bagh is a public garden of about 6.47 acres, walled on all sides with only five narrow entrances. Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer blocked all the exits and the troops fired at the fleeing civilians until all of them were dead. He later declared that, his motive was not to dispel the rally but to punish the Indians. He did not give aid to the survivors but left them to die.

The villagers were gathered in the Jallianwala Bagh to celebrate the famous Sikh festival, Baisakhi, and for the peaceful protest against the arrest and deportation of Indian leaders, when this world-famous massacre took place. Approximately 372 people were dead and 192 people were seriously wounded in this massacre.

Shahid Babu Genu Kamble Case:
George Frazier of Mancheste, a cloth merchant, on 12 December, 1930, was moving the loads of clothes made in foreign from his shop in fort region to the Mumbai port. He had requested for police protection. In in middle of their journey, some people were marching and shouting in support of Mahatma Gandhi. In front of them all, Shahid Babu Genu Kamble was shouting in the praise of Mahatma Gandhi and he was not moving away from the path of the truck.

The police ordered the driver to drive the truck over Shahid Babu Genu Kamble, but the driver denied that but then the police took the driver's seat and drove over Shahid Babu Genu Kamble and crashed him to death under the truck. This resulted in huge wave of anger, protests and strikes in India.

Bhagalpur Blindings:
The Bhagalpur Blindings depicts different incidents which took place in between 1979 and 1980 in Bhagalpur, which is situated in the state of Bihar. In this, the police officials blinded 31 individuals, who were still under trial and not yet proven guilty, by pouring acids into their eyes. This incident became famous with the name of Bhagalpur Blindings. This incident was widely discussed and criticized by the Human Rights organizations. The Bhagalpur blinding case had made criminal jurisprudence history by becoming the first in which the Indian Supreme Court ordered compensation for violation of basic human rights.

Hashim Pura Massacre:
On 22nd May, 1987, Hashim Pura Massacre took place. It is an incident of mass murder which took place in Meerut, in Uttar Pradesh, in India during the 1987 Meerut Communal Riots which occurred from March to June in 1987 which resulted in the death of 350 people. It is claimed that 19 police officers collected 42 Muslim youths from the Hashim Pura locality, took them to the outskirts of that place and shot them and dumped their body in the nearby irrigation canal. After few days, their bodies were discovered as it was floating in the canal. The 19 men were accused but later they were released on bail.

Rampur Tiraha Firing:
This case refers to the police firing on an unarmed activist who was from Uttarakhand and was at Rampur Tiraha (crossing) in Muzaffarnagar district in Uttar Pradesh in India at the time if the incident, on the night of 1 October 1994. The activist was a part of the agitation regarding the separate state of Uttarakhand and was going to Delhi to stage dharna. Six activists were dead in that incident.

Koothuparambu Firing:
It was a police action in 25 November, 1994. The incident occurred at the Tell cherry road in Kannur, in Kerala. The inauguration of the Co-operative Urban Bank’s evening branch was going on when this incident happened. The firing occurred when the Democratic youth federation of India had organized protest against the education policy of granting government quota seats to the management of the then United Democratic Front government led by the Congress. The police started firing when the protesters started blocking the minister from inaugurating.

Manjolai Massacre:
People were going in procession to Tirunelveli Collectorate to submit a memorandum demanding wage settlement for the tea plantation workers of Manjolai estate. An altercation between the police and the marchers resulted in a lathi charge by police. It happened on 23 July, 1999,and the Manjolai massacre is also called Thamirabarani massacre. 17 people including two women and a two-year-old child, were dead, when they got into the river to protect themselves from the Tamil Nadu police lathi-charge.

Muthanga Incident:
It refers to the police firing on the Adivasis in the Muthanga village of Wayanad district of Kerala state in India. The Adivasis were collected on 19 February, 2003, under Adivasi Gothra Maha Sabha (AGMS) to protest against the Kerala government because they were delaying in allotting them the land which was contracted on October, 2001. The Kerala police fired 18 bullets during the protest, due to which two people died instantly and one of them were a police officer. In a subsequent statement, the Government placed the official death toll at five.

Dhule shootout:
In this incident, the police fired on the violent Muslim youths, in which 6 people were dead on the spot and 20 people were injured.

2015 sandalwood smugglers encounter in Andhra Pradesh: - The Andhra Pradesh police encountered twenty suspected woodcutters in the Seshachalam forest in Chittoor District, Andhra Pradesh, India.

Thoothokudi Massacre:
The Thoothokudi massacre is also called Thoothokudi protesters shooting. On 22 May, 2018, this incident took place in the Thoothokudi district which is situated in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. The Tamil Nadu police officers fired in the group of 2000 people, when they were protesting by pelting stones on the district collector's office and vandalizing collector’s office and vehicles. In this massacre, thirteen people were killed including a 17-year-old school boy and a dozen people were severely injured.

Citizenship Amendment Act protests:
It is the very recent incident of the protest by the public and the violent controlling of the protest by the police officials. On 4 December, 2019, the protest started from the state of Assam, soon after the bill was introduced in the parliament. After that, northeast Indians started protesting and subsequently, the protest spread in the major cities of India. Major protests took place in Aligarh Muslim University and Jamia millia Islamia in New Delhi.

The protest spread and its extent also became violent with time. The public and the private properties were destroyed and burnt by the mob, including the vandalizations of some of the railway stations. The police entered the Jamia campus with full force and used tear gas and batons on the students, injuring 200 students and detaining 100 students overnight in the police station.

The police action was subject to criticism resulting in the students protesting in solidarity. As on 27 December, 2019, there are thousands of people who were arrested and 27 people were killed. Two 17-year-old children, who were still minors, we're killed in the police firing in Assam. The police ordered an absolute ban on the protest in several states on 19th December. The protesters who were defying the ban, we're detained.

Victims Of The Police Atrocity

Malice Green:
Malice Green was an inhabitant of Detroit, Michigan. The Detroit Police, Walter Budzyn and Larry Nevers, assaulted him, which resulted in his death on 5 November, 1992.Both Walter Budzyn and Larry Nevers, were found guilty for Green's death. The main cause of his death was found to be the blunt force trauma to his head.

Eleanor Bumpers:
On 29 October, 1984, the New York police department shot Eleanor Bumpers dead. To enforce a city ordered eviction of Eleanor Bumpers, who was an elderly disabled African American woman from her public housing apartment, the police was present there.

Dontre Hamilton:
A police officer, Christopher Manney, killed Dontre Hamilton by shooting him on 30 April, 2014, at Red Arrow Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. No charges were brought against him but the police officer named Christopher Manney was discharged from the police force. Due to the shooting and resulting protests, after this incident, the police officers started wearing body camera.

Eric Harris:
On 2nd April, 2015, the shooting of 44-year-old Eric Harris occurred. He was fatally shot during an undercover sting in Tulsa, Oklahoma, while he was running away from the authorities, unarmed.

The police have the main duty to serve the society and to decrease the crime rate, to protect the rights vested in ordinary human being, to activate the prosecution of offences and to restraint the public disorder but now-a-days the police officers misuse their power at very large extent. They, while discharging their official duty, do not take on their responsibilities properly. They also abuse their power for personal profit as well as for the official profit. It seems that the police officers are heartless creature.

They do not understand the feelings of people. They think that they have right to hurt others. They don't realize that the other people too are human beings. They just treat them like animals. The rate of police atrocities can be minimized to great extent if the police officers start wearing body cameras because then they will understand that their actions are being monitored.

The society must force the policy makers to face their own racism. By actually banning racist policing, by involving the community in big decision, by not letting friends of police, prosecute the police and by training the police to be members of the community, not just armed patrolmen, the police brutality can be controlled to a great extent.

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