Tuesday, July 25, 2006

A Case of Mistaken Identity!
(aka) Policeman and not a Gentleman?

If you are a resident of Chennai, you surely would have heard about the recent case of mistaken identity leaving a young man in tatters, psychologically and physically. It so happened, that the young man picked up by the police and the suspect were namesakes resulting to the arrest of the wrong man.

And he allegedly suffered the worst night of his life. It seems that he was bodily harmed by the policemen on duty at the station, in the name of interrogation. He was released the next morning, when the police found out their blunder (where the poor man was picked up due to mistaken identity because the wanted man was his namesake), and he was let off with a fifty rupee note in his hand. At that time he was barely able to walk. The incident made the news in the local channels.

This incident of mistaken identity, is another blot on the policing system. I wonder if there aren't any modern methods to interrogation. Who is at fault? What kind of training do they give the policemen for their job? And, what would be the psychological makeup of a man who can wantonly inflict harm on another human, whether by law or otherwise? How can the policing of the society be given to such irresponsible individuals? I would be interested to see a psychological assessment of all the policemen in the country done and a report released.

It is probably not the fault of the policemen. They have been trained to do things in a certain manner. They have not been trained to be sensitive to the fellow human. They are just following protocol.

This may be making the headlines since the person affected is innocent. Now, after this incident, we do know how the accused are inexplicably treated in police stations throughout the country. If the person is treated thus, before he is let back into society, how can we expect him to reform? The law is not just supposed to convict people who commit crime. Isn't it more important to reform people and help them get back into the system.

The law should not just be to catch them and put them in prison. It should be to produce less criminals with every generation.

My argument is simple. If what you have been doing has not been producing results, you are doing it the wrong way [no pun intended]. It is time you changed your approach.

It is interesting to note here that we live in a society where a policeman's presence is essential to make the public obey even an automatic traffic signal. Does it make a serious statement on the values that are imbibed since childhood?

By the way, have we been producing less criminals and less crime happening in the past years after independence? If not, isn't it time for a serious thought to change the system?

Note:This is an article originally published in Jan 2005, when there was an incident of an innocent civilian falling prey to a case of mistaken identity, in the southern Indian city of Madras, re-christened Chennai. And, that case is forgotten. Another thought that occurred to me about this case of mistaken identity, is that it could be happening every day in different places. The results could probably be hilarious, unlike in this case, where sadly an individual is probably scarred for life.

1 comment:

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