The Nithari killings have held my thoughts the last few days. I am so pissed with whats happening – I thought I would do a post on this. But then what’s the point of spilling ink now – when so much blood has already been spilt. Probably the best thing I heard about the whole incident was a gentleman on one of these talk shows. He said “Deviants, maniacs, perverts and fiends have always existed and will always exist – and not just here – but abroad as well. The differentiating factor is – a police force that is ready not just to tackle but also take preventive action”. And sadly that’s where we have been let down. By a police force that does not care.
And really this is not an isolated incident. There are tons and tons of people – who will tell you how the police force – went against their intended role in society. Let me tell you my incident.
As part of the immigration procedures – one is required to produce a Police Clearance Certificate (PCC). And that is all the info the consulate gives you about this. Not knowing what this certificate does or is meant to say – my father volunteered to go to the nearest police station and find out. And what do you know – they don’t know what it is either. After visiting 2-3 police chowkies, we found out the procedure to get one. It involved me going to the Police headquarters where all such admin procedures happened. I decided to go by myself. Wrong thing to do. Ladies, never, ever go to a police station by yourself. Always have a male companion. The police thinks something is wrong with you – if you land up by yourself.
A very helpful clerk provided me with the info on how to go about the procedure – while at the same time – passing snide remarks about my lonesome state to his fellow workers in Marathi. I am extremely fluent in Marathi – and understood every word. But decided to keep my trap shut. Form filling took 10 mins, found out no fee was required and I was to return after a month to pick up the said form. During the month, I was informed, a CBI, FBI and local CID inquiry would be held to find out if there were any civil or criminal cases against me and if I lived where I said I did. In short, if I was a law abiding citizen of the land. O wow, I thought, all this in a month. Wonder why all other police investigations so long?
A couple of weeks later I was summoned to the local police station for verification. And while I landed at the appointed time – the constable (or was he an officer?) was missing. I waited an hour and decided to come back the next day. Next day, same status. This time I waited till the man returned from his beat. Found out my extremely ‘helpful’ clerk at the HQ had misprinted my name and my hubby’s name. Not a small mis-print but a complete change in the name e.g. Rajan had become Ravi. Another helpful constable corrected the mistake, after all ‘aap shareef ghar ki aurat ho’ (you are from a respectable family).
I landed up exactly a month later to pick up my PCC. O yes, helpful clerk said, you are most prompt. But the Certificate hasn’t yet been signed by the officer concerned. Ok, I thought, get the signature then. I offered to go and get the signature myself. But of course ‘yeh kannoni mamla hai madam – aap nahin kar sakti’ (it’s a matter of law – you cant do it yourself). He said he would get it done soon. I waited again. He went through my papers – ‘o aap ne mistake ko correct karwa diya’ (you had the mistake corrected). What the hell I thought – he knew there was a mistake! Did he make it intentionally? But why?
After about half an hour he got up from his chair to get the signatures. Came back a while later – showed me the form had been signed.
As I waited for the Certificate – he told me – a poor computer operator had filled in my form. It would be good if you gave him some ‘baksheesh’ (gift of money). O I said, doesn’t the government pay him to fill in our forms? Yes, he replied, but its very measly. Everyone pays him something. Why don’t you go pay him – while I stamp your form. Suddenly the dim-bulb in my head lit up. O he wants a bribe. But wont take it himself. And all this in the SP’s office. Under his damn nose. Ok, I shrugged. How much? Thirty bucks should be enough – he told me. O wow I thought – they even have a fixed rate. So I made my way to ‘poor’ computer operator – who looked very confused – when I gave him the money – but then looked over my head to the clerk signing him to accept the money – and took the money.
I got my certificate – which I ought to have rightfully got – without a hindrance. Alls well that ends well.
Whoever I narrated this incident to – nodded in agreement saying – o yes these things often happen. Really? The more I see incidents such as the Nithari ones, the more I tend to agree with them. The poor parents didn’t have money and so nobody even bothered to hear them out – let alone file FIRs. (First information Report). And all this happening in the place the UP government holds up as a model township. UP – the state for which Amitabh Bachchan is a brand Ambassador.
If this is what model townships are like – I shudder to think what the rest is like.