Tuesday January 23, 2018
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#FightBribeGetBricks: Despotic behavior of Delhi Police is due to lack of accountability

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By Ishan Kukreti

Law and order are the basis on which a city functions and police is the main player in this process. It instills fear in the heart of criminals and makes the masses feel safe. However, the video floating on social media of a Delhi Traffic Police personnel hitting a woman full-force with a brick, has raised prominent questions on the character and accountability of Delhi Police.

The rude and crude Delhi Police

However, this isn’t a new thing. Delhi police has been under the scanner a lot of times for custodial deaths, refusal to file FIR, asking bribes etc.

According to the statistics released by the Public Grievance Cell, as many as 26 complaints are filed against Delhi Police daily. Last year 2,186 complaints were filed against Delhi Police. Majority of these were related to rude behaviour and bribe demands. Surprisingly, more than 60% of the complaints filed are still pending, with no action being taken against the defaulting official.

What’s Wrong?

A major reason for the despotic behavior of ‘friendly’ Delhi Police is lack of accountability.

Right now the police in Delhi is under the Central government as is the case with all Union Territories.  However, given the population and size of Delhi, managing the largest metropolitan police force of the world puts an immense burden on MHA (Ministry of Home Affairs). The fact that the Home Ministry is doing a sloppy job is palpable in the complaints against Delhi Police and their pending status, along with all the recorded and unrecorded instances of police brutality in Delhi.

The law governing police in India is an archaic British Law, Indian Police Act, 1861. Since then, apart from a few inconsequential changes, the ‘Inspector Raj’ has been continuing unhindered.

National Police Commission was constituted in 1979 which has time and again given relevant recommendations to the government for improving the condition of police, but no change has been initiated yet.

Even the Supreme Court’s judgment in Prakash Singh vs. Union of India (2006), had directed the Centre along with the states to initiate police reforms. Nine years since, the matter has yet not been taken up in any serious manner.

Court’s guidelines, focusing on achieving functional autonomy of the police (through security of tenure, streamlined appointment and transfer processes, and the creation of a “buffer body” between the police and the government) and enhanced police accountability (for organizational performance and individual misconduct) could have acted as a revitalizing force for the department, but in the utter unwillingness of the government, they haven’t found a substantial say.

How about Delhi Police under Delhi government?     

Needless to say, for a UT of the size of Delhi, the control over the police force is not an unjustified demand. Handing the force over to Delhi government would not only bring in more accountability but will also cut down the red-tapism in the force.

Moreover, the chief minister of Delhi Arvind Kejriwal is ready to bear the burden of the department. The centre is not able to do the same and hence it should keep aside its political reasons and bring Delhi Police under Delhi Government.

 Start Police Reforms  

It’s never too late to initiate a progressive change. The Supreme Court directives have been gathering dust for a long time now and now the government has a reason to take them up again.

The government has a treasure trove of guidelines and recommendations by Supreme Court and the National Police Commission, which it has chosen to turn a blind eye to for so long. If it decides to break its lethargy and procrastination a lot of positive changes can be brought about in the police force, not only in increasing its efficiency but in also making it more accountable.

The given condition of force is such that the people are more scared of the police than the criminals, filing FIR is just a perfunctory job as nothing is ever retrieved, Delhi Police constables are seen harassing bikers on the roads.

It won’t be wrong to say that the people have lost their faith in the police and today’s incident just goes on to show that they are not wrong in their assessment.

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All You Need to Know About the Sport of Jallikattu

Jallikattu is certainly a dangerous sports, which poses a risk of life for the participants.

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banned bull taming sport of Tamil Nadu
Jallikattu sport of Tamil Nadu, Wikimedia

By Ruchika Verma

  • Jallikattu is a traditional Tamil sport
  • The sport involves bulls and humans, the latter trying to control the former
  • The sport was banned in 2014, which created a lots of controversy

Jallikattu or Sallikkattu, also known as ‘eru thazhuvuthal’ and ‘manju virattu’ traditionally, was in news last year, around this time due to the ban imposed on it by the Supreme Court. The ban was much hyped and gathered a plethora of media’s attention.

Jallikattu ban was much hyped. Wikimedia Commons
Jallikattu ban was much hyped. Wikimedia Commons

Jallikattu ban has also garnered lots of political attention due to the involvement of Tamil Nadu and Central governments. The issue is much hyed due to the political context involved in it too.

What exactly is Jallikattu ? 

Jallikattu is a traditional sport and spectacle in which bulls of the Pulikulam or Kangayam breeds are released into a crowd of people, and multiple human participants attempt to control the bulls while they try to escape.

Jallikattu is seen as animal cruelty by many activists. Flickr
Jallikattu is seen as animal cruelty by many activists. Flickr

Jallikattu is practised in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu as a part of Pongal celebrations. The districts, Madurai, Thanjavur, and Salem are the most famous for conducting Jallikattu. The game dates back to Tamil classical period, which went back to 400 BC. Ancient Tamil Sangam literature described the practice as ‘Yeru thazhuvuthal’ which literally means “bull embracing.” With time the sport has become synonymous with valour and bravery.

Also Read : Tamil Nadu legalises Jallikattu with a New Law

What happens in Jallikattu and how?

The bulls participating in the game are all lined up behind a narrow gate and released one by one into the arena. The participants have to either control the bull by holding its hump or clutch away a flag attached to the horns. Owners of the bulls often announce prizes for the man who gets the hold of their bull.

The objective of the game is not to kill or overpower the bull, but to hold onto their hump for a certain amount of time or distance.

The participants are only allowed to hold onto the hump of the Bull. www.in.com
The participants are only allowed to hold onto the hump of the Bull. www.in.com

There are three variants to the game. First, when the  bulls are released from an enclosed area. Second, when the bull is directly released into open ground. And third, when bull is tied to a rope as the only restriction, and a team of 7-9 members has to untie the prize from the bull’s horns in 30 minutes of time period.

The gate through which bulls enter the arena are called vadi vasai. The bulls charge at the men standing most near to the gate. One of the rules also say that a participant is only allowed to hold bull’s hump and no other body part. The other rules varies from region to region.

Also Read : Animal rights organisations challenge new law on Jallikattu

Jallikattu Ban and Controversy

Jallikattu is certainly a dangerous sports, which poses a risk of life for the participants.

In 2014, The Supreme Court banned the sport, endorsing the activists’ concerns according to which, Jallikattu is not only cruelty towards the animal, but also poses a threat to humans. According to the data provided, between 2010 and 2014, 17 people were killed and approximately 1000 were injured during Jallikatu.

The Jallikattu ban was protests by many Tamilians.
The Jallikattu ban was protests by many Tamilians.

However, the ban invited a lots of protests. Many Tamil communities called this ban a violation of their culture and tradition.

In 2017, many lawyers plead to remove the ban which was rejected by the court. After requests and arguments of Tamil communities, central government reversed the ban, however, after Supreme Court stuck the order down, the ban was imposed again. However, the government of Tamil Nadu sanctioned the sport and brought it back into the practice.