I appeal to you, as a former proud member of the IPS fraternity. At 91+, I am one of the few living IPS nonagenarians! I served the people in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Punjab, dispensing justice as was their right.
I do not intend to preach to you! I do not intend even to advise, because times have changed, political compulsions have changed and more importantly, politicians are of a different breed from the freedom-fighters who formulated policy in post-independent India.
But the values of honesty, compassion, yearning for truth and justice, commitment to the law and the constitution are always constant and should hold the first spot in your mind’s eye whenever you think, decide and finally act. As a true leader of men, your diktat should guide the thinking and the actions of those who serve under your command.
While tackling crime and criminals the extraordinary methods, nay the classical methods of fighting terrorism cannot be replicated in normal times. Gang lords and big criminal gangs come into existence because they use money to bribe police officials and their political masters. It is the nexus between the criminals, the police and the politicians that create these Frankensteins! You know this as well as any ordinary policeman.
As I said earlier I do not dare to advise you. There is nothing much you can do to sway the politicians, but you can surely compel your own men to desist from supporting the criminals thereby shaking one important leg of the three-legged nexus!
The politicians will not ask you to allow the criminals to operate. They may ease you out of your position at the top, but that is a much nobler option than to be privy to the creation of a Vikas Dubey!
And speaking of Vikas Dubey, his elimination involved usurping the role of the judiciary! The investigators should not be empowered to prosecute and judge also as is happening in the country now! Do you consider this wise or just or civilized? Do you feel the necessity of a police state called India? The rise of criminals who ambush and kill law enforcers, who escape so easily from their custody snatch the policemen’s weapons and Rambo like take them on till killed is so common now and so routinely applauded by the middle classes that political bosses have turned calamity into pasture grounds on the ooze of which they can feed!
The murder of the father and son duo in the Tuticorin district of Tamil Nadu is even more disturbing because cruelty had consumed the perpetrators to such an extent that even middle-class support did not materialise! Shameful! Every policeman in India should hang his head in shame.
I am not going to offer solutions. Arm-chair advisors often do more harm than good. I am sure you will devise a strategy where fake encounters and brutal methods of interrogation are abandoned in favour of not allowing Vikas Dubeys to rise in the first place and in favour of quick trials of the Vikas Dubeys who slip through your net!
Here allow me to break my promise to not pontificate. I beg IPS officers to please stop the ugly spectacle of jockeying and lobbying for cutting-edge posts in the hierarchy. This involves the sale of your independence to political bosses who in turn will ‘request’ you to do things that you know will weaken your own authority over those you have to command!
Your sorrowing brother,
Julio Ribeiro (I.P.S ’53- Mah)
Julio Rebeiro is a former police commissioner of Mumbai, DGP Gujarat, DGP Punjab, and the former Indian ambassador to Romania.