Highlights

* Karnal SDM’s ‘crack their heads’ order is not an isolated incident of abuse of power, but a pattern of abuse of authority

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In-Depth: Brutal Babu-giri: What’s wrong with you Mr Officer?

Karnal SDM Ayush Sinha was caught on camera directing his force to ‘crack the heads’ of farmers if they try to breach the police line. Brutal Babugiri has been around for a while now.

Situation turned tense near Karnal on Saturday after police lathi charged on farmers protesting the Centre’s farm bills.

While police claims they they used ‘mild force’, visuals from the ground suggest otherwise.

Karnal SDM Ayush Sinha was caught on camera directing his force to ‘crack the heads’ of farmers if they try to breach the police line.

The IAS officer’s words drew sharp condemnation.

Bhartiya Kisan Union’s Rakesh Tikait called the officer ‘Sarkari Taliban’ for his action and drew a comparison of CM Khattar with the infamous Jallianwala Bagh incident’s General Dyer.

Although Deputy CM Dushyant Chautala assured action against tSDM , this is not the first time that a sarkari babu has been caught on video exhibiting aggressive behaviour.

Brutal Babugiri has been around for a while now.

In May, an IAS officer in Chhattisgarh was seen thrashing a man on the street during lockdown.

While the man tried to reason that he was out to get medicines, Surajgarh District Collector Ranbir Sharma was not convinced and broke the man’s phone then ordered policemen to beat him up.

In July, during the local block panchayat polls in Uttar Pradesh, a journalist was chased and assaulted by the Chief Development Officer of Unnao Divyanshu Patel on camera.

Such abuse of authority while condemned in some cases, is often celebrated as heroism.

Its trickle down effect is uglier.

Lathi charge, custodial deaths, fake encounters and torture are a perennial occurrence.

During the Delhi riots in February 2020, a video of police officers forcing a group of injured men to sing the national anthem, highlighted the need for sensitivity training for the forces.

Several instances of police brutality reported in 2020 during the Covid-19 lockdown amped the need for more empathy.

The gruesome custodial deaths of father-son duo Jayaraj and Bennix in June 2020 in Tamil Nadu was a sober wake-up call on police brutality.

According to the Ministry of Home Affair, there have been 1,940 police and judicial custodial deaths in 2021.

The Chief Justice of India said that police stations pose the highest threat to human rights and dignity and police brutality continues despite constitutional guarantees.

It is after all, a game of power and authority.

Babus too are answerable- to netas and to the people who elect the netas.

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