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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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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