Police are known to receive brickbats, irrespective of whatever they do! The governments and political leaders do not give them the respect that they deserve for their performance within their limited resources and many commoners do see khaki synonymous with corruption.
The appointment of top police officials results in a sudden flurry of activity which is referred to as Section Garam as the men in uniform and in plainclothes increase pressure on what they perceive as anti-social activity. For instance, they tighten screws on bars with ladies service and increase raids on them. Suddenly, they seem to realize that activities bordering flesh trade take place in these bars. Otherwise, police jeeps are seen in the vicinity of ‘ladies bars’ primarily to ensure that they close in time at 9.30 pm.
Police also keep announcing through their press releases the names of the bars that they raid and the media reports them. This serves as unpaid advertisements for the bars which do roaring business after the Section Garam is eased.
Navi Mumbai, of late, has been experiencing a Section Garam type of situation with the rise in the frequency to check if the bars are employing more than the stipulated number of girls. Police also send so-called decoy customers, as if they are not aware of the way the bar business is conducted! Customers say the bar owners lower the volume of the blaring Bollywood songs during the police searches and return to deafening volume the moment cops turn their back.
While this has become part of life for the bar promoters, Adivashi is happy to note that the police in Nerul have shown their Good Samaritan character by pooling in Rs 10,000 for a poor teenage boy who was mercilessly beaten up by a couple of juveniles. The victim boy’s mother, a widow, works as a maid servant in many homes and realizing this, the police have raised money to help her meet her son’s medical expenses at the intensive care unit of Dr D Y Patil Hospital. The motive for the brutal assault is yet to be established and the police promise that they will ensure justice for the boy.
In another humanitarian gesture, the police have prevented enactment of the climax of a recent Bollywood movie, Ashiqui-2, in which the lead character commits suicide by jumping off the old Vashi creek bridge.
The police in real life, however, rescued two women and prevented them from jumping into the sea. A woman from Mankhurd wanted to end her life as she was unable to repay a Rs 3 lakh loan. Some passers-by, who noticed her roaming about their bridge restlessly, informed the police control room and the Vashi team promptly rushed in and saved the women’s life. Another woman from Nerul was on the verge of committing suicide as she was allegedly tortured by her family. In both cases, police counseled the women and sent them back home.
Adivashi was witness to police spending from their own pocket to lift unidentified bodies and send them to morgues organizing mohalla meetings to ensure and harmony during various sensitive religious festivals. But the sad part is that the Governments at the Centre and in the State give the least priority for the police welfare. There are several cases of poorly paid constables not getting their special allowances for months together on account of acquiring commando training.
It is high time the people in general and media pressurize the governments to take care of the police so that they are not ridiculed for invoking Section Garam and Section Naram!
In a shocking development, the police have discovered that teenagers are using office stationery item whitener as a new tool for intoxication. Police found several teenagers idling under footbridge at Sanpada railway station. Whitener contains trichloroethane, a volatile solvent, and other substances such as petrol and toluene, which give ‘kick’ on inhalation.
Doctors say this is a dangerous addiction as the person inhaling it can die as it happened in Pune sometime ago. What is more, the Sanpada bridge has also become a favourite venue for youngsters to consume liquor.
The proposed Navi Mumbai International Airport, meanwhile, continues to remain in the news as a section of the project-affected people, opposing the compensation announced by CIDCO, are preparing to boycott the Lok Sabha polls 2014. The action committee, representing six villages and covering 457 hectares, met CIDCO officials last week with no progress in the stalemate over compensation package.
This is the 65th in a series on Navi Mumbai by veteran media professional B N Kumar, a long- time resident of Mumbai’s twin city. He can be contacted at: email@example.com
B N Kumar
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