GOA: That the state police were clueless about the presence of gangster Umaid-ur-Rahman, who was picked up by Mumbai police from a house in Arambol, and that he was a sharp shooter of the Chota Rajan gang, speaks for itself. The gangster lived peacefully for 57 days in this haven.
It's a further shame for the police force of Goa that they did not know anything about the arrest until the news hit the headlines. But is the police force alone to be blamed for this?
The inefficiency of the police is probably more because of the way they have been treated by the political class here. Any society that does not give a free hand to the police cannot expect the force to perform well. More often than not, Goa policemen are dictated what they should do. So they have no self morale left in themselves.
Many files pertaining to important clearances have been kept pending by the administration for months together. The home department should also take a share of the blame for this mess, because they are one of the biggest culprits in not clearing the decisions that will give some teeth to the police force.
Goa has repeatedly been in the news nationally for all the wrong reasons. Either it is some gangster who is holidaying here without anyone's knowledge, or some foreigner is raped and killed like the Scarlett Keeling case, or Atala and David Driham alias Dudu, who become the dudes of Goa, smuggling drugs into the nerves of tourists and locals.
Policemen are more known for the mafia-police nexus here. All the good work and investigations done by their colleagues are overlooked, thanks to some powerful policemen who flaunt their closeness to the political class. Often, a constable has more influence than the top police brass, because of his access to chief minister Digambar Kamat, or home minister Ravi Naik. In several instances, policemen claim closeness to other ministers like Churchill Alemao, Atanasio 'Babush' Monserrate and Viswajit Rane. The end result is that these policemen continue to get plum postings, or even stay in the sensitive crime branch for years.
The top brass of the police force are posted from outside the state, and either have little interest, or are not allowed to have their say in postings. A strong police force will come into effect only if the political class does not interfere with the decisions of the police department. DGP Aditya Arya will have to push the government to give the policemen their pride back. Unless policemen have their pride in place, one cannot expect the force to function to its potential.
There are many instances where important investigations have been dragging for months together and the culprits get away.
Many a time, there are black sheep within the police department who go unpunished. Many policemen act as moles for the criminals. Policemen have been involved in twisting cases, or even committing crimes. Many months since the alleged death in police custody of Cipriano, the perpetrators of the crime have gone scot free. And the family of Cipriano is fighting the battle all alone and have refused to take possession of the body until the policemen who are allegedly involved in the negligence leading to his death, are brought to book.
The government is yet to form the anti-terror squad, despite heightened threats in Mumbai and elsewhere in the country. Goa being a coastal state has to be more vigilant, given that it's a top tourist destination of the country. There are several foreigners always in Goa, and both during season and non-season, the influx of tourists is a constant.
A better monitoring mechanism will have to be put in place. The government will also have to increase the strength of the police force, provide them professional training, form special units to be able to meet situations like the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, and make the police force more robust.
The wake up call is already there. The police force should not ignore it. The political establishment should stop interfering and terrorizing the police force. The gaps between the teeth need to be filled to make it an alert unit.