Mangaluru: Couple of years ago it was suggested and later decided that police in Karnataka State were all set to make its functioning transparent and more people-friendly-the programme of modernizing policing in the state will make the functioning of police stations on record through the installation of closed circuit cameras. But until now we don’t see any CCTVs in most of the local police stations.
By installing CCTVs, those who approach police stations with complaints or for any other enquiry need not worry about any kind of harassment. The cameras in each station would capture the footage of entire proceedings in stations, and the same footage could be used in case of any harassment and human rights violation allegations arise from the public.
But sadly many of the 920 plus police stations across the state, including Mangaluru don’t closed circuit cameras to ensure human rights. The decision made couple of years ago coincided with the then Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid’s suggestion that all proceedings at police stations across the country should be video graphed to discourage custodial torture. The minister had also said that there should be video graphing and recording of proceedings in all police stations so that there will be evidence available for everything. But it seems like everything is in vain.
PUCL President David D’Souza
Installation of cameras will ensure protection of human rights, but also will make all functions in police stations transparent. Cameras should be installed focusing to and in the lock-up, police sub-inspector’s chamber, and outside the police station building. The cameras would help make policing people-friendly. Police officials can keep a check on who are all visiting the station and how the personnel are responding to them. Also instances of harassment or delay in registering of first information reports can be tackled through CCTV footage.
Just few weeks ago, there was a controversy about the death of PUCL president David D’souza and the investigation is still going on – members of PUCL say that David died in police custody due to beating, but police of Rural Police Station-Kankanady have given their version that David had altercation with a third part, in which he suffered an heart attack when taken to hospital. Only if there were CCTVs in this station, the investigators could have got some clues through the camera footage- but with no cameras installed and no proof, the case will be prolonged due to non sufficient witnesses and also due to different statements from PUCL and Kankanady police station.
Lawyer Uttam Rai in the center
In yet another incident of police brutality on a lawyer took place at Kadri ast Police Station just couple of days ago, where a police inspector assaulted a young lawyer when he had escorted his client to discuss about a case- this incident led to a protest by the lawyers association which resulted in the suspension of the police inspector, and also that the association is demanding the arrest of the police inspector for his behaviour. While the police department is blaming that the lawyer first tried to assault the police inspector, on the other hand the lawyers association is putting the full blame on the police inspector for the assault. Only if there were CCTVs installed in this facility, investigators could have figured out the truth behind this incident by going through the CCTV footage.
In conclusion, all I have to say is that, if the law enforcement department can install quite a few CCTVs at prime spots around the city to check on citizens breaking the traffic or Law & Order laws, why can’t the same department install CCTVs in the police stations where they can check on the behaviour of the cops with the citizens-that would be a fair deal!
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