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Monday, April 15, 2024

Odisha cop suspension shows babudom still suffers colonial mindset hangover

In Odisha, a cop has been suspended for making a pregnant woman walk 3 kilometers in the heat which led to the woman developing complications. As per reports, the woman police officer Rina Baksala, who was posted in the tribal-dominated Mayurbhanj district, made the woman and her husband walk to the police station even though the man agreed to pay the fine online for not wearing a helmet.

On Sunday, a helmet-checking drive was going on when Bikram Baruli was riding a motorcycle with his eight months pregnant wife when he was stopped and fined by Baksala for not wearing a helmet. Even though Baruli said that he would pay the fine online, he and his wife were made to walk with the motorcycle to Sarat police station 3 kilometers away.

Walking in the heat led to the woman developing complications following which the couple lodged a complaint with the sub-divisional police officer. Following the complaint, Mayurbhanj Superintendent of Police (SP) Smith Parmar suspended Sarat police station in-charge Rina Baksala on Sunday. The SP said the cop has been suspended for gross misconduct and dereliction of duty while adding that a departmental inquiry will also be conducted against Baksala.

This incident is an apt reminder of the colonial hangover that the Bharatiya babudom (IAS & IPS officers) suffers from. Civil Service in Bharat is a British legacy where members of the service came to enjoy immense power in the course of time.

The officers of Indian Civil Services or ICS, initially exclusively British and later even Indians with a British outlook, were akin to the small Rajas that practically ruled their fiefdoms and had huge discretionary powers. Although post-independence the name of the service changed to Indian Administrative Service or IAS, many things remained the same.

This incident is a reminder of how authorities lack empathy and simply want to show off their power on those who they construe as weaker and inferior to them. It is time that officers are sensitized and trained to respect the citizenry rather than treating them as their ‘subjects’. There is an urgent need for civilizational training and police reforms to ensure that the public is not made to suffer due to the arrogance of those in positions of power.

(Featured Image Source: Mathrubhumi)

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