Ever since the increasing criminal activities of men in force in the State of Punjab have forced every peace-loving citizen to find a solution in taming the outlaws, various issues have come to the fore calling urgent remedial action. With more than 1700 petitions pending in different law courts against Punjab police personnel mostly of the subordinate ranks till 2000, according to an official release from the Litigation and Prosecution department of Punjab, none of Senior Police authorities have added this vital information in the annual confidential report of these tainted police men. Many policemen even after being indicted in the departmental inquiries conducted by Internal Vigilance or Crime department of Punjab Police have not been reverted or sent to Police lines, inspite of instructions issued in this respect. This undue protection from the Senior Police authorities to the illegal activities of the subordinate men have encouraged lawlessness in the Punjab Police to a large extent. Every day newspapers are filled with reports of Police highhandedness and tales of third degree torture or even custodial deaths at the hands of Punjab Police. In the year 2000 alone, there had been 19 deaths in Police lock-up and in most of the cases, the police claimed that the victim committed suicide by hanging himself or consuming Celphos tablets while in police lock-up, due to fear of arrest in some petty case. Ironically, the Courts and even the Punjab State Human Rights Commission, failed to apply its mind and blindly accepted these repeated cock and bull stories to be true and exonerated the force in most of the cases of death in police-lock up.
The worst affected areas of Criminal-police nexus in Punjab are Ludhiana and Jalandhar. Ludhiana being the hub of trading activities and Jalandhar, world known city for its hawala business have remained in the limelight for a long time. It is said that the post of a Station House Officer of a Police Station is
auctioned by the Senior Superintendent of Police for more than three lacs a month and the Post of Senior Superintendent of Police fetches more than twenty five lacs to the Senior authorities. Having said that every Station House officer of a Police Station paying more than three lacs a month to his Superiors must be earning more than double this amount and the Senior Superintendent of Police must be pocketing more than fifty lacs every month, this brings us to the moot question as to who is paying this money to the policemen ? A subordinate police official for the sake of anonymity whispered that underworld land mafia, hardcore criminals, besides money lenders share the booty to a large extent with the Station House Officer who in turn passes the buck to his superiors. According to available record in the Police Stations in Ludhiana alone, there are more than ten gangs of land grabbers, and about fifty history sheeters involved in petty cases of extortion, robbery and other criminal activities. Even few policemen have been found running the business of money lending and picking the defaulter loanee without any warrant for pressurising him to pay off the debt.
The gruesome killing of Avtar Singh, a youth of Ludhiana by Inspector Gurmeet Singh alias “Pinky” on 7th January, 2001 outside his house in Maya Nagar, Ludhiana has once again forced the people to think twice before speaking to a policeman, because the policeman in Punjab has free hand to take out his service revolver and shoot anybody down without any provocation and then slip away infront of the public like a king.
Arunjeev Singh Walia