Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Worst hit of 26/11 ...

It was 3.00 in the morning. I was in the cab on my way to work. For the last two weeks I was in the 4.00AM shift. The roads were deserted and we were cruising on the Mulund – Airoli bridge. At the toll gate, we saw that there were a group of Policemen on the other lane huddled over a small bonfire.

“Kaay saheb, bombil bhaajtaat ki kaay?” Asked our driver rolling down the window. Are you roasting Bombay Ducks?

The Policemen turned back and gave him a stern look. Our driver gave a sheepish smile and rolled the window up. The driver did not see what I was able to. The policemen were huddled over a small bonfire, braving the cold. One among them was apparently unwell as he was under blankets and shivering badly.

            As we approached the toll gate, I saw that there were two very alert Policemen on either side of the road. They seemed very tired. Ten feet ahead was a Police Van with more tired cops and a tired Inspector on the walkie talkie. As our cab proceeded, I saw another Police Sedan doing the rounds of the empty street. Far ahead, I saw one cop sleeping on a chair. He was guarding the octroi post.

                        I could not help but feel sorry for the Policemen. I felt they were being harassed. Since the 2006 bomb blasts, they were given the additional responsibility of guarding every railway station in Mumbai and now after 26/11, they are expected to stand guard at  the Airport,the malls , movie halls, roads, junctions & circles. Not to mention they are deployed to safeguard the Peace Marches, Marathons,Agitations and perhaps the worst of all, they have to guard the Politicians as well.  And if this was not enough, they also have to be present at the Police Station to record the complaints of the drunkard’s wife, the rich brat’s whim, mobile thefts, murders, rapes and robberies.

                     Gone is the swagger of the policeman, they are tired overworked donkeys now.  The city feels better seeing the Policemen deployed almost everywhere but ever wondered how the Policeman feels? I too, feel secure when I see a couple of cops around but seriously, are they supposed to guard malls and movie halls? 26/11 may have ‘hurt’ the Mumbaikar’s psyche, but  it does not justify our current security apparatus!! Our Policemen certainly don’t lay golden eggs, but that doesn’t warrant a punishment to ‘Work till Death’!!

10 Grumblings:

Sikander Fayyaz Khan said...

All I can say is, and ofcourse with a heavy heart, welcome to the 'club.'

We, in Pakistan, have now become quite used to this sight in last 3 or maybe 5 years, so much, probably, that we cant even notice their plight.

I think police is the most 'unrewarded' department in both our countries and may be many others. People are quick to point out their short comings but would easily skip to acknowledge their hard work.

Anand said...

I pretty much guess Mumbai police would be in a recruiting spree too...

ayyo.... said...

@Siku
True. We rarely acknowledge their plight. But are the first to point out their failures. The other day, the Times of India said that Bombay Police is the most corrupt arm of the City's infrastructure. I am sure most of the Bombayites must've tched tched self-righteously.I feel so sorry for the Police now..

ayyo.... said...

@Anand
I wish they go on a recruiting spree. They are so understaffed and so overworked. And if this was not enough, the Policeman's workload has trebled with the recent terror attacks.
The other day I was on a bus, on the same Mulund - Airoli bridge when someone lost his mobile phone. Apparently someone flicked it. It was evening and the cops were neck deep in work manning scores of cars and motorbikes. The Bus was stopped near the toll gate and the Policemen had to frisk every passenger in the bus for a careless person's lost phone.

Akash said...

I strongly disagree with the whole post!
Though I know your reservations about a policeman lets say frisking you at a mall, I believe when we face such dire situations, actions are necessary, and placing a policeman at all such places is a necessity. We don't want more bomb-blasts for sure.

Also, though I agree that they are overworked sometimes, think of the laborers who work day and night in a construction factory, or a farmer who ploughs his land in the sweltering heat. We don't give any credit to them too, and they perhaps work more than the police-walas. And whatever might be the case, till they get more cooperative, understand that showing anger to the public is not their birth right, that they are to serve people and not rule them, I believe the tch tch will go on.

ayyo.... said...

@ Akash
True, we dont want any more bomb blasts. But seriously, what do we do after a bomb blast? Blame Pakistan, blame the ISI, do some whining in the mdeia and then whip the Policeman. I was talking about the same yesterday. The terrorists of yesteryears were better. They used to kidnap, bomb and maim the PMs and the ministers for their policies.
But coming back to the point, one cannot compare the Policeman with the laborer. There have been so many instances of the Police committing suicide because of work pressure. You have to take one look at them and you would realise that this ordeal is killing them. They are forced into corruption by the system and we citizens thrive upon it. But when it comes to blaming... we do the tch tch
I have my own reservations about being frisked everywhere. But that has nothing to do with this post. I personally feel that the Indian Police would do a lot better if :
1. They're relieved from the duty of guarding the MPs and the MLAs and other VIPs
2. Autonomy
3. They're deployed to maintain Law and order and not guard movie halls and malls.

ayyo.... said...

Moreover there was never any talk about credit here. You dont hate the farmer or the labourer. We hate the Police. What hurts me is that we blame the Police for being corrupt when ourselves are on the lookout for an 'understanding' cop everytime we find ourselves on the other side of the law.
My example of the Policemen frisking the passengers in the bus might've been misleading. But the point was, that the policemen were deployed at the toll gate to man the vehicles moving in and out of the city and the cell phone incident only strained them further.
They aren't angels and we're doing them no good my lynching them.

meerasworld said...

i agree with you and also with anand here.recruite more and pay them more.dont we have more than enough unemployed guys who could be trained to do this job?
after 9/11,it was very hard to go through the checkings in the airports.but in the end,we think,its for our own good.honestly i would feel secure to see a police man,inside a bus or a mall or inside a theatre .but it should never be a tired ,ready to drop down, police man!! hope they will recruit more and more people so that everybody gets some rest!

meerasworld said...

i meant akash:)

ayyo.... said...

True, we do feel secure with the Police around. But as you said, recruit more and make them autonomous. Like the Army. I'm sure 60% of the corruption would vanish from the Police force..!
Yeah, they work for 16-18 hours a day back then. And the road I was talking is very very deserted during 3.00 AM and does not need 10-20 Policemen with 3-4 Sedans..!