Will police learn from Bhatkal?

By Sandesh Prabhudesai (EdiThought)
24 September 2013 23:56 IST

Goa’s Deputy Inspector General O P Mishra on Monday had a press conference to reach out to the people through the media regarding landlords not following guidelines to inform the police about the people they rent out their houses to. The concern is genuine since people can stay in Goa for various reasons, which could be harmful and the police are kept in dark about it. The appeal that was made to verify their antecedents and inform the police was thus the need of the hour. Especially when a terrorist like Yasin Bhatkal stayed in a rented house at Anjuna and the police was simply not aware of it.

But, sadly, while addressing the press conference, Mr Mishra sounded more of a politician and less of a policeman. He preferred the regular politician-style blame game than solving the problem. He narrated many incidents where criminals got scot free because the landlords had not informed the police. But when it came to the lapses on the part of the police, he simply evaded a frank reply.

In fact, he didn’t want to speak about Bhatkal’s case, while chief minister Manohar Parrikar (also the home minister) had informed the media that he had told the police department to brief the media in this regard. “I have no comments to make on what the CM said”, was his reply. And regarding Bhatkal’s case, it was a simple political comment: “It is not fair on my part to speak about it when another agency (NIA) is investigating the case.”

Interestingly, no journalist asked Mr Mishra about Bhatkal’s investigations. The DIG was speaking about the careless attitude of the landlord, including Bhatkal’s case, where the landlord had not informed the police about his stay or even when he left with acid bottles inside the house. The journalists asked him, at this juncture, about the media reports where the police had not even registered missing reports of youth, who were contacted by Bhatkal for joining Indian Mujahiddin. Poor Mishra was not even aware whether Bhatkal’s photograph was sent to Goa police.

Now, this is the efficiency of the police. And not informing the police is the carelessness of the landlords! Why did Mr Mishra hesitate to admit lapses on the part of his department in letting Bhatkal go scot free? If they had taken serious note of the cases of missing reports, a terrorist like Bhatkal might have been in the police net long ago. Are they really serious about terrorists coming and staying in Goa? Then why is the DIG shielding his careless officers?

In fact Mr Mishra was not even in a mood to appreciate the media for bringing to the fore certain facts, which exposed that the police machinery was not functioning efficiently. Media reports said that the police had completely ignored the complaints of missing reports of the youth. “I will not go by media reports, I will take action only when it comes officially to me”, he said, in a politician’s style.

If the DIG does not trust the media, why did he invite the media for a press conference? To tell them that he does not trust them? Or to convey it to them very politely that their reports are bogus? These questions arise because he simply pretended of taking action against the officials. When media asked whether any official procedure has started to find out the lapses, he had no answer.

Obviously, Mr Mishra would not believe even this editorial because he does not trust us – the media. But, in that case, he should act. Act against those who behaved carelessly. Act against the negligent attitude of the police stations. Act against the whole rotten system prevalent in the department to send back the worried parents without even registering their complaints. If not, the media would be compelled to arrive at a conclusion that the police indirectly helps the terrorists. After criminal-police nexus and drug mafia-police nexus, this would be a new nexus – between the terrorists and the police.

If not, then the onus lies on the police to prove that they are serious about this whole issue. Not just by taking action against the negligent officers but tightening the whole system. Will Mr Mishra do it; or will simply say – I don’t believe in what media says either! 

Disclaimer: Views expressed above are the author's own.

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Sandesh Prabhudesai (EdiThought)

Sandesh Prabhudesai is a journalist, presently the Editor of goanews.com, Goa's oldest exclusive news website since 1996. He has earlier worked as the Editor-in-Chief of Prudent & Goa365, Goa's TV channels and Editor of Sunaparant, besides working as a reporter for Goan and national dailies & weeklies in English and Marathi since 1987. He also reports for the BBC. He is also actively involved in literary and cultural activities. After retirement from day-to-day journalism in 2020, he is into Re-Search Journalism (पुनर्सोद पत्रकारिता), focusing on analytical articles, Video programs & Books.

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