Tag Archives: Police

We-Care-A-Damn spelt with an F



That, perhaps, is the government’s answer in the handling of the Mumbai Police Commissioner’s appointment. It may take a hard-nosed investigating team (perhaps the one on the Sheena Bora case?) to get them to say more   

Whatever the stated intention of the Maharashtra government, in ‘routinely’ reassigning roles of two competent senior police officers, it speaks only of two things. Inept communication and non-verbal posturing indicating We-Care-A-Damn (henceforth abbreviated to WCAD).

And in its refusal to acknowledge and accept its blundering, it has caused immense damage.  Tick messing reputations. Double tick destroying careers.

With a young and able Chief Minister in Maharashtra, one hopes for better governance and astute decision-making. However, recent decisions reflect quite the contrary.

What is worrying is the apparent stubborn WCAD attitude. The latest decision is a case in point. In the abrupt transfer of the Police Commissioner, the government has raised a plethora of troubling questions. These are but just ten of them which, comprehensively and convincingly, the government needs to answer.

  1. When Maria was to routinely be transferred end September, what was the hurry with only 20 days to spare?

The Home Secretary said:  We didn’t want to transfer him in the middle of the festival season and create a vacuum in the CP office a-la the previous occasion.

This begs the supplementary question: Could the government not have held Maria back till the festival season was over, given that the Government insists it had no issues with his competency. Isn’t the existing officer better placed to handle Mumbai’s festival season than someone who would be just a week old in the hot seat?

Answer: WCAD

  1. If the post of the CP (currently being held by an Additional DG ranking officer, which Maria was till recently) was being upgraded to that of a DG ranking officer, then pray why did they not continue with Maria himself? Haven’t other officers stayed in the same job beyond their tenure earlier?

Answer: WCAD

  1. If this was such a ‘routine transfer’, why was it done in a hush-hush manner and Maria informed of it the same morning or possibly the previous night? Or are HR protocols and niceties not part of thick- skinned politics?

Answer: WCAD.

  1. Javed, a highly competent officer in his own capacity and with much experience in Mumbai too, retires a few months from now. When a government claims to be talking long term, why did they bring in someone with a short term in mind? Doesn’t Mumbai deserve someone with a longer tenure or do we have a paucity of competency?

Answer: WCAD

  1. By upgrading the position of CP to that of a DG, haven’t you distanced the goal post for so many IPS officers of the rank of Spl IGs and fresh Addl DGs? For those who dreamt of becoming CP in five years, it will now take ten years. Or will the rules keep changing to please whims?

Answer: WCAD

  1. By booting Maria out and then bringing him back to head a particular case (you once questioned why the CP is showing interest in one particular case and now you endorse his ‘interest’ by assigning it back to him), what signal are you sending to the new CP? We trust you, Mr. Commissioner but…?

Answer: WCAD

  1. Whom does Maria report to for the Sheena case? The government? The CP? Anew extra constitutional authority being created for this one case? Whom does the investigating team report to? To Javed or to Maria?

Answer:  WCAD

  1. What are the grounds on which a new CP gets chosen among equals (equal ranking officials to be more precise? Don’t we have a right to know? Don’t THEY have a right to know?

Answer: WCAD

  1. Earlier, citizens knew how these decisions were taken. But can you possibly explain the rewritten procedure followed this time?

Answer: WCAD

  1. And what about the much celebrated hand-over of the baton from one Police Commissioner to another? Did that happen at all?

Answer: WCAD

The Chief Minister may be well-meaning but the methods of communication, both verbal and non, have distorted the message. Assuming of course he did intend well.



Fighting the Small Battles

I remember watching him two nights ago, a little away from where I live. Not so old. Not so young either. He stepped out from a building across, possibly for a late night post dinner stroll. His purposeful strides betrayed his intentions.

He had come out from a meeting of senior citizens who had told him of how locals in the neighbourhood had torched a Holi bonfire on the night of Holika dahan (the night prior to the day of colours). Nothing unusual, except, that the bonfire was lit dangerously close to one of the housing structures. While the shelter was not damaged, the telephone lines had got charred, resulting in about 150 lines in the area being rendered dead.

The not-so-young man walked out of the meeting and went straight to a bunch of youngsters in their late teens. I noticed them every night, chatting away to glory  under the tube light, making room for themselves in two parked-for-the-night auto rickshaws which also belonged to one of them. These youngsters lived in the shanties along the building where this  not-so-young (NSY) guy had emerged from.

I saw him engage in a conversation with these youngsters, asking them if they knew who had lit the bonfire so close to the wall. “Whats your problem”, asked one of them arrogantly. It is not in front of your house, grunted another.

The NSY man told them that it may not be his problem, but, telephone cables of the area had got ruptured because of the fire. The youngsters kept denying any knowledge of those responsible for the fire and yet, began verbally heckling the NSY. “Did it damage your wall, if not why are you complaining”, said one. Ho do you know so many telephone lines have been damaged , questioned another. Patiently, the NSY chap replied, trying to get the youngsters to see reason.

Maybe  MTNL should not have put the wire box at that location. We will continue to light the fire here. To this, the NSY  eventually lost his cool. Chutiyas are those who lit the fire, without thinking of public safety, he remarked. Before turning away.

No sooner had he said that, the youngsters pounced on him. Demanding why he had been abusive. Not for once repentant about the damage they had caused. This went on for almost five more minutes before the Not so young chap finally retreated. 

 One could see the youngsters had now ganged up.  For a moment one thought they were disturbed that their bonfire had caused damaged and that’s what they were discussing. One was wrong.

They were angry with the NSY chap for calling them chutiyas.

Within a few minutes,  one saw the NSY chap walking back. Towards the same crowd. One surely expected a showdown. The silence  and tension was  evident.

The NSY came up, called the youngsters together and said. Guys, I am sorry for having called you Chutiyas.

I went home and returned, only to apologise to you. Bad language is not what I subscribe to. But, just pleading with you, please do not burn the bonfire so close to a shelter the next time.

Saying this, having rendered  the youngsters speechless, he left.

I know who this Not so young chap is. I know he is not one to use foul language. But, he was provoked into. I also sensed why he went to apologise to the youngsters. It wasn’t only because his own usage of the foul language was bothering him. But, he was worried of the outcome.

The youngsters, locals, had the protection of the unwritten law. Their confidence to have a street fight, or a bonfire which can damage homes, and get away with it, emerged from the inability of the local leaders to reign them in. Inability o the police force, which lacked the spine to act against them.

A confidence which this not-so-young chap no longed could boast of.

He was also worried that in his absence, these youngsters were more than capable to cause harm to parked vehicles or the senior citizens, out of spite.

This was just one small battle that the middle-class had fought. And possibly lost. In such straightforward a manner. How do we expect him to win the war.

At one level,  one criticises Karan Johar to having met Raj Thackeray and ensured his movie gets smooth passage.  Or a Bachchan to sing paeans of the senior T depending on which way the wind is blowing. Criticises them because the state government has time and again promised action against these goons.

But then, look closely. Does a Johar or a Bachchan or a MF Husain stand a chance against goons? Especially when the rulers have failed us time  and again?

Do we aim for the  war? Or spend ourselves fighting the smaller battles?

Don’t you think we could be more tacticle and start voting, to begin with? Rather than not vote and then expect the government to protect us?

 Or be a cynic and go on your holiday on Voting day.


I always felt  sorry for Asmita. This girl in my college. Hardworking and sincere. Always ready to help. Her father was from Uttar Pradesh. Or was it Bihar? Or,  as Gulzar saheb said in his play Athanniya, ” Kaun sey UP ki hai rey tu”?. ..( I find it tough to translate this subtle dry humour. In the play, its a moral policeman who asks this question to an ‘obviously’ north indian migrant. For the cop, anything north of Maharashtra, is a UP (Uttar Pradesh).

Back to dear Asmita. Her dad was from ‘some’ UP, as they say. Her mother,  a Maharashtrian.  Her mother tongue, was thus, Marathi. Hence, Marathi Asmita she was for us. .

One always felt sorry for her. And  for her twin sister, Sanskriti.  Both of them were cultured, well-groomed and good examples..  I never ever saw them answer back, or display their anger or disgust. ANot even when some one would pass a snide remark or feel lecherous eyes undress them.

I guess that’s why they were taken for granted.

Ummm..I correct myself. Everyone wanted to ‘own’ them.  Aamchi Asmita, said the elite, well heeled, and well-groomed Maharashtrians. My foot!! Aamchi Asmita, I would grumble. If you feel so much for her, why don’t you do something about it?

Then there were two other groups in fray, which wanted to  take up the cause of protecting Asmita and Sanskriti. Though their intentions almost alsways seemed suspect. (They never admitted it so) The law was an ass, so it seemed, from their attitude. But nobody could do a frigging $$@^ about it.

 The ‘middle-class’ sensibilities debated the bad behaviour and decried the humiliation, but, all  in private. And hung their head meekly as they petered past the other two groups of ‘protectors’ of the twins, in public.

These two groups.  One was led by Abu bhaiyya. He was from ‘Azim’garh. But had settled in our ilaka. The other was Raj Bhau. He spoke good marathi. Was quite a dashing young man and could really have  been a well-suited groom for both,  asmita and   sanskriti.

But he chose the wrong path. His practise and preach were like two-tracks of the same railway line. Never did the twain, or train, meet.  Raj Bhau’s other problem was his passion for animals. Taming them. Especially the wild ones. They would behave themselves only when inside his compound. But, the paltu kuttey would bite just anyone who would refuse to feed them in public.

Every one was scared of these wild ones, but  had no choice. We are like this only you see. Imagine trying to tame a wild one who has a gold band strapped around his neck. Look closely, there is a leash, but, nobody is holding on to it.  The dog catchers always look the other way when these mongrels are on the loose. It’s the meek stray puppies who get caught in the net.

Then there was Abu Bhaiyya. He was like a ‘Bhai’ to every one. Do I need to say more? He was  given police protection from the wild animals. But in his own home, the cops were denied entry by the ingrate. Wonder if he was too scared of skeletons tumbling out.

Both Raj bhau and Abu bhai would often clash in the middle of the night. Their fights were invariably over their love for Asmita and Sanskriti. I once over heard key aides of both, conspiring in the we hours of a morning. The groups had joined hands. Decided to share the ‘booty’. The deal had been done. Both groups took turns in disrobing and then….

Asmita and Sanskriti were  brutally gang raped, so I was told.  Raj bhau and Abu Bhai’s henchmen came forward,initially, condemning the acts. Later, retracting. Going as much to say that this is not their Asmita, not their Sanskriti. Disowned them.

But then, do we really care? Of course we do. We debate, we condemn. We issue press releases. We middle-class. Ofcourse, we also avoided being seen anywhere close to the lane where Asmita and Sanskriti lived.

Asmita and Sanskriti have since got married. To two wealthy foreigners. They are now well taken care of in foreign land. Initially, when the shaadi took place and the adoption happened, nobody cared. Now, Asmita’s hubby has won a Nobel. Sanskriti’s beloved has won the Oscar.

India has united again. The Raj bhau and Abu bhai camp has once again staked claim over the two.”She was from our gaon”, they have said. They have threatened to burn buses and damage public property if Asmita and Sanskriti do not return.

We the middle-class, have issued a press release, forming a ‘core-committee’ to discuss the matter.

Meanwhile, even as this issue rages on, a  new child has been born to the Bhartiya family in the neighbourhood. They have named the baby SABHYATA. Raj bhau and Abu bhai  wanted to be there for the naming ceremony. They pelted stones at each other last night, but, could not resolve the isue.

The middle class has yet to decide what  to do about it. (Raj bhau and Abu Bhai are any way unconcened about what the middle-class decides.)

Life goes on.

Of course it has to. Elsewhere in the world,  the state legislature in Maharashtra has been shamed by MLAs slapping each other. One more year is tip- toeing past the 26/11 mark. The Home Minister who had said “Badey badey sheraon mein chotti chotti batein hoti rehti hain), after the terror attacks , and who had been forced to resign, is back in his seat. He will take the salute on  the first anniversary of 26/11, as the nation watches in silence. Tribute or mute?

We don’t know. We don’t care.

I sit in front of my laptop, wondering, why should I spoil everyone’s mood so early in the morning. Good morning. Its time to discuss more important issues. Anyone travelling to Delhi? Anyone with a stomach ache? Anyone wants to play farmville? Anyone wants to check horoscope?  Facebook zindabad.

Last heard, Sabhyata was molested in one of the by-lanes of somewhere, called everywhere.