The police of our country stay constantly in news, sometimes due to their good deeds and even heroic feats but mostly due to the various antics they are involved in. The latest one to gather the headlines is this incident from Uttar Pradesh’s Badaun district where police officials are seen raising firearms at civilians while stopping them for regular vehicle check. As bizarre as it may sound, this has been happening since some time in the area and a few video clips have gone viral recently leading to the escalation of this matter. The video in the tweet below by ANI UP shows several clips where cops are seen harassing people in the name of vehicle check.
Police point gun at people during regular vehicle checking in Wazirganj, Badaun. (20.6.19) pic.twitter.com/N02fSAYwsx
— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) June 24, 2019
This video consists of several clips taken at a different time and different locations in the district of Badaun. The policemen are seen pointing their guns at commuters and forcing them to hold up their hands while checking their vehicles. One of the clips in the video was shot at Bagren police outpost in Wazirganj and shows the outpost-in-charge Rahul Kumar Sisodia shouting threats at commuters as reported by news agency IANS and ANI. One of the cops is seen shouting the following statement in Hindi:
“Raise your hands. Open your legs. If you lower your hands, you’ll be shot. Then don’t say you were shot. Who will put on your helmet? You will be shot,”
The regular folks living in and around the city claim that this manner of checking by the police has become a routine since some time. According to one of the commuters, the police officials don’t let even women commuters pass without this ‘gunpoint-check’. Raj Kumar Agarwal, who is a businessman, told news agency IANS
“If you are driving and the cops want to stop you, they will do that with a gun in hand. The method is so intimidating and humiliating for the common man. The cops make no concession even if the driver is a woman,”.
Talking about the other version of the story, the police officials were reported as saying that this measure of pointing guns at commuters was being done to keep a check on crime in the area. A police official said:
“Badaun is a crime prone area and we keep our guns out because you never know which vehicle is bringing criminals. We have to remain prepared,”
While this can’t be denied that this region has been notorious for its criminal activities and in past a few police officers have been shot while on duty, coming down to such method is not expected from the police force. Upon being questioned upon the same, Badaun’s Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Ashok Kumar Tripathi said that this measure was a “tactical technique”. He further added:
“There have been incidents earlier where people of criminal mentality fired at the police during vehicle checking. We have suffered casualties due to such incidents, that is why a tactical technique is being used,” he was quoted as saying by ANI.
The office of the Director General Of Police (DGP), upon being informed and questioned, has said a probe into the incident would be initiated and action on the same would be taken if needed. To let you know, police forces are entitled to use firearms during activities like vehicle check among others but only under special circumstances. This includes a state of curfew or any such condition due to which an official alert has been passed by the administration. What is happening with these commuters, however, is unconstitutional and can be termed as physical as well as mental harassment. We hope the administration comes out with a solution and stop measures like these from happening.