As the light turned red and I braked at the intersection a car sped past me, almost colliding with another one coming from the opposite direction.
A traffic constable standing at the signal flagged the car down and I congratulated myself for being a law abiding citizen. When a car gets stopped by a traffic policeman, there are usually two ways the scenario can play out. The offender either gets a fine or the constable gets bribed. To my surprise, neither of the two happened because the driver floored his accelerator and drove off, almost killing the constable. The distinct feeling of joy I felt withered away. Anger and anguish woke up my journalistic instincts, so I decided to speak to the constable about this little encounter. “Why didn’t you stop that car?” I asked him.
“Oh sir ji, I did stop him. But you know they don’t bother stopping,” he said. “What do you mean they don’t bother stopping? What are you doing here then?” I asked. “What do you expect a single person to do? Sometimes such people drive over our feet, and other times they even hit us...” he replied.
This reminded me of the police brutality saga that was all over the news a few weeks ago. In one incident Inspector Allah Dino, intoxicated, ordered his servant Arbab Ali to place a bottle of wine on his head which the inspector wanted to shoot with a Kalashnikov. The shot missed, and Arbab died.
It’s terribly ironic that the fate and behaviour of our police force spans across two extremes of this spectrum of abuse. On one hand I saw a traffic cop almost being run over in his attempt to maintain law and order, and on the other, I heard of this disturbing misuse of power. The idea here is not to say who is at fault or that this country has ‘no system’ but to pause and wonder whether we are ever going to change at all.