Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Just in case - for evidence

I go for a run at a promenade opposite Fortis hospital in Vashi, sector 10. Actually I am not sure if it is sector 10 or sector 10-A. The promenade is quite pretty and circles a little marsh. There aren't to many streetlamps there. Some nights, I have seen beautiful fireflies and all. Some other nights, I have seen a few unpleasant things. There are these little  sheds constructed intermittently. People usually sit, dogs usually urinate and some people do yoga or stretches here. In the late evenings, sometimes couples go and sit there. Sometimes, they get cosy.

Last week or so that I have gone running, I have noticed that two cops on a motorcycle come and generally round up couples. This happens between 7 and 7:30 every evening. I used to think it was some annoying kind of moral policing. Then today, I am not sure, but I think I asked a cop ask the couple for money. While the girl had turned away and had curled herself up in abject shame, the boy was trying to negotiate the money with the cop. I was still some distance away so I couldn't hear anything clearly. Maybe I got a snatch of "I can't give Rs. 20,000 now!"

When I heard this, it bothered me. But I thought I'd let it pass because I wasn't sure. Also, it was dark and for a moment, I thought what if these cops turn on me. I don't have a phone with me because I dropped it in a puddle and now it has stopped working.

By the time I got to the couple, the cops had left. When I jogged further, I saw that they had rounded up another group of young boys and girls. In fact, there were 3 boys and 1 girl. There those cops were asking them some questions, etc. This time I stepped in and asked the guy if there was a problem against boys and girls being together in the park. The cop told me that there wasn't but they had to sit in the light, etc. I then asked him why. Then he got a little offensive and said that it was for my protection. Anything could happen if a gang of 4 boys came and attacked me since I come running late in the evening. (I think they must have seen me. I hadn't registered their faces earlier.)

I told the cop that since he comes for a patrol at the same time every day, hooligans know that. I told him that people come and drink every night after these guys go. So why are they harassing couples only?

Perhaps my choice of words was not proper. He got defensive and told his partner to take down my name and address, etc. I gave it. Then he acted all injured and said that if I didn't go out that late, maybe I wouldn't notice so many things. Then he told me, in all ominous pomp, that I should come to the police station. It's in sector 9, he said. He gave his name and said that he would like to talk to me.

I returned home and told this to my mum. She, of course, was a little worried and then it struck me that these guys know I go running at that time. If they have to try something, they will do it in the evening. Not too many people are there in the park and even if there are, I wonder if anyone will step in to help me against cops. In any case, all that is speculation.

A month or so ago, an elderly gentleman took up fasting to eradicate corruption. Today, I see that the police is asking for bribe and youngsters are giving it. I can't really blame them. They are young and afraid and, yes, ashamed. I think most of them are hiding their relationships from their parents. (I think, at least, from what I have seen that shame does more damage than greed. In the second case, the girl openly told the cop to check her bag and call her parents. She wasn't afraid. The cop then went on a back foot.)

My question is this - if one has seen a cop asking for bribe from someone else, what does one do? Where does one complain?

My second question is this - In case anything does happen to me, I wonder if this blog post can be admitted as evidence under the Indian Evidence Act. (This is, of course, if anyone takes up my cause or something like that.)

Information on any of the above two issues will really help.


Anonymous said...

I read your blog regularly and I don't comment. I am a lurker. However, this time, I would like to comment. I would never have the courage to go and confront a cop in the manner you have. I applaud your action. And I am not technically equipped to tell you if the blog entry can be used as evidence but what I can do at my end is copy your entry in a mail and circulate it among friends and family and ask them to do the same. I need your permission to do so.I think making such things public would be good. So please let me know if that is fine with you.
Another thing I wanted to tell you and its that if you really want to take some further action, then I would suggest that you take help from some media people. Mumbai Mirror and CNN IBN have a concept of citizen journalists and they encourage people to come up with such incidents. Alone we cant make much difference. We need strong support. Also, just in case you think of going to the police station,please do go with lots of people with you, like your family, friends, neighbours, if possible. Peaceful gathering of a crowd can scare the hell out of wrong doers, as we have recently witnessed in our country. Please do not go alone to the police station on any account.
Thanks for doing something,

Mukta said...

This is odd...My email shows a comment from Sunipa but I can't see it here. Anyway Sunipa, if you are reading this...please go ahead and do what you think best regarding the post. I would really like some information on how to proceed. Thanks so much!