Updated: Jun 28, 2020
Authored by - Garima Rana
Designation - Student
I. Protests in the United States of America
Regardless of the pandemic and lockdown, thousands of people in America have stormed the city of Minnesota to protest against the death of George Floyd by the police. George Floyd was an African American security guard who was arrested on suspicion of using the counterfeit bill. During the arrest, four police officers approached him, Floyd was pinned down and a police officer knelt on his neck even after she said “I can't breathe" and eventually died. The policeman, who knelt on Floyd, has been arrested and charged with murder. Three others who were present and watched the scene unfold have not yet been charged although they have been dismissed from service. Floyd’s death triggered demonstrations and protests against police brutality in the United States of America.
II. Misuse of powers by Indian police
Police brutality is a violation of civil rights where officers exercise undue or excessive force against a person which includes physical or verbal harassment, physical or mental injury, property damage, and death. The police are misusing their powers and are not being held accountable for that. No superior or politician is going to question the acts of a policeman. Complaints against police are rarely prosecuted. Police brutality in India is not just as it is in the United States of America, the situation here is worse as no action is taken against them.
III. Situation in India
We are all aware that custodial deaths and gratuitous police beatings in India are quite common. Many instances similar to George Floyd’s death make news and are talked about on social media, but they fade away without any national outcry or protests as seen in the United States of America. A few recent examples in India are police beating violators during the lockdown, student protestors as well as non-protesting students at the campus of Jamia Milia Islamia during Citizenship Amendment Act protests, unarmed protestors were killed and many more injured in the Thoothukudi Massacre, and many more. All these cases were talked about in the news and on social media but were forgotten with time.
IV. Police brutality during CAA protest and lockdown in India
India invoked Section 144 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which prohibits assembly of four or more people, to ensure that people don't venture out during the lockdown and to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Those violating section 144 can be arrested and detained by the police. However, the government hasn't authorized the police to use force to impose the lockdown. A lot of videos of police brutality became viral during the lockdown in India. Although the fear was necessary to stop people coming out of their homes and violate the lockdown rules. But there were a lot of people who were out to get essential supplies and some were brutally injured.
The protest against The Citizen Amendment Act protests caused a widespread national protest. The passing of the CAA was seen as an issue that would affect everyone, not just Muslims. Similarly, police brutality should shake up all of us, even if we all may not have personally faced it. These are things about our system that have to change and only public opinion expressed jointly and forcefully, can do that.
People praise the acts of a policeman who has taken law in its own hands in Indian Movies. Indian movies show policemen torture suspects in custody, despite having rules against it, people consider it right. Keeping a blind eye towards police brutality is causing the graph to rise People don’t realize this but if even one police officer is psychotic, sadistic, and violent and has groomed their fellow officers to follow or obey, then they all can cause harm. A transformative change starts with us in the streets demanding our rights.