Questions Galore: A police raid on a drug peddler, and our role in bloodshed
"Notorious Drug Peddler Kinda"
- S Pal

"Yaar, samajh nahi aunda police di support kariye ke lokan di? Police utte hamle vee galat hun, par police ne vee treeka theek nahi apnaiya."

On a number of social media platforms, including WhatsApp groups and Facebook pages, several well-meaning activists and concerned citizens, taken aback by the unabashed attack on police personnel raiding a drug dealer, seemed a little confused.

And they were right.

But they were asking the wrong questions.

Now, Punjab Police DGP Dinkar Gupta has announced that a new policy has been formulated to compensate the families of police personnel killed in the line of duty, and an official nod is awaited. 

Earlier this month, an officer of a rank no less than the chief of Punjab Police’s anti-drug Special Task Force (STF), Harpreet Sidhu, had a narrow escape during a shootout with alleged drug smugglers in Amritsar.

At that time, there was no such dilemma. 

So we missed an opportunity to ask the right questions.

There's a very serious problem with our policing system. Police is policed only by the police, and not a single pair of outside supervisory eyes audits its conduct, professional approach, training, procedures, spending, deployment and a thousand other aspects.

But we will remain limited to just raising some relevant questions in connection with the shameful and utterly avoidable incident in Desu Jodha in Sirsa district

Police came to know about a drug peddler by the name of Kulwinder Singh Kinda. Seven police personnel went to nab this man, described by the police as a "notorious drug peddler". Police knew the exact location of this "notorious drug peddler Kinda."

If seven police personnel, some in uniform, with guns dangling, accompanied by a known drug peddler, are moving about in villages of Haryana, after crossing the inter-state border, and are going to the house of a "notorious drug peddler," what was the iron-clad guarantee they had received that there will be no resistance?

Since the police knew about the presence of "notorious drug peddler Kinda" in the village, how many personnel were deployed to block all exit routes and lay a siege to the village? 
We can go on and on and ask the rest of the 378 questions that would make the Punjab Police look like a bunch of, what?, notoriously trained highly efficient bumbling fools, but that is not the purpose of our exertions.
What kind of intelligence was available to the police? Did it send decoy policemen to the drug dealer to try and strike a deal, and then nab him red-handed so that the case stands in a court of law? Did it send undercover cops, disguised as labourers or vegetable vendors or tractor/harvest combine mechanics or pesticide dealers so that there is enough force in the village? Which police station was the team in regular touch with? Were they wearing wrist-speakers or was the team depending on their trusted and rusted walkie talkie sets? How many of the seven going in for a direct confrontation were wearing bullet proof vests? Who was in charge of videographing the entire sequence of events so that the case in the court is iron-clad?

Why did the police not try to keep Kinda under watch for a few days, send in decoy cops, and keep a general tab on not just this "notorious drug peddler Kinda" but on a number of other people who he would have met or done dealings with in the next few days so that our brave and intelligent cops get to know not just the "notorious drug peddler Kinda" but also his entire network of drugs dealers, suppliers, possible political friends, the black sheep in the force who could be hand in glove with the "notorious drug peddler Kinda" and many of the end-use consumers of this thing that he has been manufacturing/supplying/trading/delivering to increase the gross domestic state product of Punjab?

What was this grand strategy behind not informing the Haryana police? What was the intelligence obtained directly or from the Haryana counterparts about whether and how many arms or sharp edged weapons the family of "notorious drug peddler Kinda" was in possession of? Also, how did the police ascertain as to how many people would be present in the premises? 

We can go on and on and ask the rest of the 378 questions that would make the Punjab Police look like a bunch of, what?, notoriously trained highly efficient bumbling fools, but that is not the purpose of our exertions.

We need to put on record other significant questions.

Just think of a different scenario: the police went to the village of "notorious drug peddler Kinda". He and his family offer no resistance. The police arrest him.

How do you think the police would have treated his family?

How do you think the police would have read him his Miranda rights?

What the hell are Miranda rights?

What the hell are those or similar rights called in India?

Are there any Miranda-kind of rights in India?

How would they have interrogated this "notorious drug peddler Kinda"?

What kind of interrogation techniques is the Punjab Police trained in?

What the common knowledge pool of the people of Punjab about the interrogation skills of the Punjab Police?

What could the possible understanding of "notorious drug peddler Kinda" about such efficient questioning techniques of Punjab Police?

Are we defending in a surreptitious manner the "notorious drug peddler Kinda"?

No. NO. NO.

We are out to defend the personnel of the Punjab Police who put themselves in the line of danger, occasionally do not shirk from taking a bullet to save the citizenry. If we want them to be able to do their job with minimal risk and stay safe, then we need to start asking all the fundamental basic questions.

It is more than the binary that the police was wrong but the people were very wrong and we do not know which side we should back. We should back the right approach. We should back the law. And that includes backing rights of the criminals, also.

A society that does not back the rights of the criminals will not be able to stand up for the righteous.

THE FACT IS that there always will be some criminals in any society, that a certain number of drug peddlers will always be there, that some people will always indulge or try to indulge in bad things. A compassionate society is that which knows what to do with them beforehand, and then remains firm in dealing with them, and never loses sight of the larger humanitarian concerns.

The fact is that the "notorious drug peddler Kinda" and his family knew too well that if they are caught by the police, they will be subjected to torture and inhuman acts, they will be made to confess, possibly more than their share of crimes, that they may have to shell up huge sums of money for small favours, including perhaps for not torturing him every day or letting him have food from outside or allowing him an extra cup of tea or perhaps a cigarette. 

The fact is that the "notorious drug peddler Kinda" and his family and you and your family know that Punjab's police stations and jails have developed a system where a number of products and services are made available at prices somewhat higher than the market price. A mobile phone call could cost more than a satellite phone call and a cigarette could cost more than a bottle of whiskey, but supply is invariably uninterrupted.

The fact is that the newspapers make you aware on a routine basis about the interrogation techniques of police and the ground level picture of the functioning of Punjab jails.

Kinda and his family had basically two choices: to resist at this juncture, see if he can escape or they can turn the tables around and become victims rather than drug peddlers, and if not successful, then they would later spend money on paying up for those services we just mentioned. Or they could have offered Kinda for arrest, undergo the Punjab Police interrogation and then some time spent in jail as an under-trial where he would have been a consumer of high-end services and watched the case drag on and on for years.

It's a market of crime out there, and there are forces that are forever creating new consumers of its products. Drugs is one product. Services made available in jail for a price is another product. Not ending up in jail has a price. Ending up in a jail and not being tortured has a price. Making a call home has a price. Even running all of this racket from inside the jail also has a price.

The fact is that you knew it. The fact is that so far you are also agreeing with us.

The fact is that we did not raise hell earlier.

The fact is that we did not raise all these questions earlier.

The fact is that something similar will happen again.

Do we want reforms? Put yourself in the hotseat. Tomorrow, your kid could fall for the bad stuff. He could start consuming drugs. He could be in the very early stages of experimenting with drugs. He could land at the house of someone like the "notorious drug peddler Kinda". He could be there just to obtain his Rs 500 worth of shot. And a police party could come raiding, Punjab style. Bullets could fly. One could hit your child. 

May it never ever happen. But that day you will not have a dilemma. 

If the police bullet gets your child, you will be with "notorious drug peddler Kinda".

If the bullet of "notorious drug peddler Kinda" gets your child, you will be with the police.

And no will be asking the hundreds of questions that really need to be asked.

And a week later, it would be the turn of my child, at the house of a different drug dealer. 

I want you to act now to save my child.

I want you to act faster now to save your child.

I want you to ask all the questions, and the hundreds of others that I haven't even raised here, so that our children are safe.

I am all for giving better compensation to the police personnel killed in the line of duty, but I want even more compensation for those not killed in the line of duty so far.

I want them to not die unnecessarily.

Money, no matter how much, is no compensation for the daughter or the son of a policeman or policewoman who returns home in a coffin.

We need to make every coffin count. We need to ask if everything was done to protect our brave uniformed men and women, and if they really really could not be saved.

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.


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