GANAPATHI BHAT, AKOLA
GOVERNMENTS across India have a chequered history in their conduct towards ‘tough’ officers. While political leaders are all ears when criminals brief them, officials are cold shouldered. The shooting down of as many as eight police officers, including a deputy superintendent of police and three sub-inspectors, by a gangster in Bikru village near Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, has shocked the country. People are aghast at the criminal’s propensity for violent ways; there cannot be a more heinous crime than gunning down officers on duty. The criminal would not have dared to slay the policemen without the covert or overt support of seniors, and unabashed blessings of powerful leaders. The policeman, who tipped the goon off about the impending raid, has been suspended. Is that enough punishment? Needless to say, the don will be picked up, alive or dead, sooner than later; but that 25 teams of the Uttar Pradesh police and special taskforce are groping in the dark for clues nearly one week into the tragic killing points to the unseen hands guiding the criminal. Give the police a freehand, and the valiant officers will trace any criminal, hidden anywhere, from his/her safe haven. When the criminal-politician-police nexus runs deep down, honest officers can only be hapless onlookers. A few, lesser-known heads have rolled. Those instrumental in shielding a history sheeter with more than 60 criminal cases – murder, kidnap, riots and extortion –should go behind the bars. The sympathisers of the notorious criminal deserve no sympathy. If not now, then when?