Mishandling of power! Pleasing top bosses by gruelling individuals without investigation has become a new mantra of the Poonch Police; DGP’s intervention needed
(POONCH TODAY NEWS)
POONCH: While J&K police claim to promote sports by utilising youngster talent in various games through the Civic Action program, Poonch police officers appear to please their top bosses by gruelling young players who are the country’s future without conducting any investigations on the ground.
This dishonourable approach of the Poonch police has brought the reputation of the J&K police to a new low in the border district of Poonch. A few days ago, during the Poonch Premier League hockey finals, which were organised by the Army on the eve of the 75th Poonch Link Up Day, a minor injury to a player led to a scuffle between a few players from two teams, which was brought to the attention of police in an inappropriate manner by a few reprobates. Reportedly, a few officers of the top brass of the J&K police, without proper knowledge of the issue, directed the police to lodge an FIR and book the alleged wrongdoers. Poonch police officials visited the field and directed some players from one team, who had been branded accusers by the second team, to come to the police station. When a few players objected and asked for the reasons, the police took it as a prestige issue, as it was important for the police to tell them the reason for their arrest, which they failed to do. It is pertinent to mention here that Article 22(1) of the Indian Constitution stipulates that no police official can arrest any individual without informing the accused of the reason or ground of his detainment/arrest/. Section 50 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) says that every police official with the authority to arrest someone without a warrant must inform the person getting arrested about the crime for which he is arrested and other relevant grounds for the arrest. This is the duty of the police official, which he cannot refuse, but unfortunately, ignoring rules, the police team visited the ground and directed the alleged accused persons to come with them and later sent them all to lockup without investigating the matter as per the rule of law. When the concerned police officers were asked about the reason for sending all young persons, barring one, to lockup without verifying the facts of the case, the officials said, “One person misbehaved with the police on the field, that’s why police sent them all to lockup.” Now, this statement of police officials was a clear indication that the police did not work on the merits of the case, but took it as a prestige issue and sent all the young players to lockup. Police booked them under 382 without any investigation, and the next day, when police failed to prove it, they were released, indicating that a large plan was in place to harass the young players, despite the fact that the matter was nothing more than a minor injury that was treated incorrectly. This “under the weather” treatment given to few players and two NIS coaches, who are known in society for setting high standards in hockey, has been seen as an act of total unprofessional policing by the Poonch police, for which the Director General of Police J&K needs to intervene by initiating an investigation, as it’s a question of future generations of hockey players whose minds have been shattered devastatingly due to the one-sided response of police. It is important to mention here that Section 75 of the (Cr.PC) provides that the police officer or other persons executing a warrant of arrest shall notify the substance thereof to the person to be arrested and, if so required, shall show him the warrant. In the landmark judgement of Joginder Kumar vs State, it was held that although the police had the absolute legal powers to arrest a person in a criminal case, every arrest had to be justified. Arrests could not be made routinely, merely on an allegation or a suspicion of their involvement in a crime, but the Poonch police overcame all rules by adopting a one sided approach. This was not a criminal case, but rather an injury during play that was unfortunately blown out of proportion. Section 75 of Cr.PC further says that every arrest should be made after the police officer reaches a reasonable satisfaction after the investigation that the complaint was genuine and bona fide, the accused was complicit in the crime, and the arrest was necessary and justified, but who cares, and this one-sided approach adopted by Poonch police, is seen as a big blow to the concept of natural justice. Article 14 of the Indian constitution states that “Every individual is equal before the law” which means that all sides in a legal dispute must be treated equally. The principle of natural justice must be considered with respect to both parties, but the Poonch police were seen under unknown pressure, and young players were initially given cold treatment for no reason. A few renowned citizens of Poonch city approached the police and tried to solve the case, but the police remained unyielding due to reasons best known to higher authorities. Highly placed sources inside police told “POONCH TODAY” that directions from top brass forced police to register an FIR, and this was the reason police did it purposely by treating one party in unfair terms without investigating the case from all angles. It is pertinent to mention here that injuries are a part and parcel of the game, but giving it an hideous turn has been seen as an unprofessional act of police, which has the capacity to discourage the morale of future generations of hockey players. It’s a clear indication that Poonch police officials believe in pleasing their top bosses just to save their future job prospects by ignoring the merits of the case and, in this way, gruelling the individuals. In many other crime cases, those with a precedent for open discussion were never taken to task by the police for years, but in this case, those with no backing, were taken to task without investigating the case on the merits. It’s a case of a complete mishandling of power by the Poonch police, as this incident has given the wrong signal to the people of Poonch. Even the top brass of the Poonch police have failed to take action against various other crimes, including bovine smuggling, corruption at a few police stations/police posts in the district and a few similar issues, which remained the talk of the town. Time and again, the public raised their eyebrows at the workings of the Poonch police on many sensitive matters, but the government failed to take the concerns of the people into account. There are also reports that a few police officers were even seen displaying their arrogance by falsely implicating people in the wrong way in some cases, and this latest case in which the police played their role in a partial way by not following the proper rules has dealt another blow to the reputation of Poonch police. Earlier, police officers like Ashkoor Wani, Yougal Manhas, Rajiv Pandey, and Ramesh Angral, took the reputation of Poonch police to a new high by winning the minds of the public. But after their departure, the district is still looking for strong officers who are known for their pure professional and audacious work. However, the issue was later managed ably by police by ensuring slight compromise between both the parties. Police also urged the players to play the game with a positive mindset by raising the standard of the game by competing on talent and avoid indiscipline by all means. But this unfortunate incident from a sports angle has shackled the minds of future generations of hockey players in particular and the public in general about the way police treated the case by ignoring the principle of natural justice. Before directing junior officers for any action, the top brass of police officers needs to broaden their horizons by addressing the concerns of an issue from all angles before entering the case, rather than giving priority to their unfair judgement, which amounts to total partiality. Sports need to be encouraged from all angles, as per the past practise of the J&K police. The reputation of J&K police is very high in the minds of the public, and those police officers who try to lower it for their personal interests need to be taken to task. A high level of intervention is needed in the matter from the DGP J&K Police to restore public confidence back in the police; otherwise, people, expecting justice in their respective cases, will hesitate to approach the police due to their questionable performance.