It will come as no news to us that many Indian politicians believe in the 'my way or the highway' theory. And, how dare anyone tell them otherwise!
On Tuesday, BJP MLA Shriram Sonkar reportedly abused and slapped a traffic home guard in Lucknow's Hazratganj area. What sin had the cop committed? Apparently, he had committed the sin of doing his duty.
The traffic policeman had stopped the BJP MLA's vehicle from entering a one-way route from the wrong side.
While the MLA's personal security guard has been arrested, the politician has not been named in the complaint.
Lucknow senior superintendent of police, Deepak Kumar, told the Hindustan Times that an FIR has been registered against unidentified persons for misbehaving with the home guard.
In a video that is going viral, Sonkar is seen arguing with the homeguard, insisting that he will take that route.
When the policeman tried to inform the lawmaker about traffic rules violation, he reportedly slapped and abused him. When another sub-inspector intervened, the MLA's supporters attacked him too.
The MLA later told Times Now, "Who cares about the 'no-entry' board? We will pay the fine if somebody sends us that..."
Yes, that was his reaction. Not an apology, nothing even close to it.
Does this remind you of another incident? Or maybe several incidents?
Earlier in March this year, Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad hit an Air India employee repeatedly with his footwear as he was not allotted a business class seat on an all economy class flight. The national air carrier put a no-fly ban on the MP for a while, but eventually it had to give in. In a setback to Air India staff's morale, the airline had to lift the ban on Gaikwad after a directive by the Ministry of Civil Aviation.
The abuse of power by Indian politicians happens so often that it no longer shocks us. And, that tells us a lot about our country and society.
The feudal mindset is so deeply entrenched that all too often, relatives of politicians too feel entitled to abuse power.
Last month, Samajwadi Party leader Ramesh Yadav's nephew slapped a sub-inspector in a police station in Etah after he was held for allegedly assaulting hospital staffers who refused to give in to his demand for "VIP treatment".
"Mohit Yadav is my name," said the 24-year-old, before slapping sub-inspector Jitendra Kumar in Etah. Bragging about his political links, he was caught on camera hurling abuses at the cops. Yadav was said to be in an inebriated state.
He was later arrested and charged with assault and obstructing an official from carrying out his duty.
The malaise isn't limited to a particular state or a party. In February this year, Rajasthan Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Chandra Kanta Meghwal's husband thrashed a police official over the issuance of a challan to a BJP party worker's vehicle.
Narendra Meghwal reportedly stormed into the police station in Kota and demanded that the challan be cancelled. An argument ensued and Meghwal slapped a police officer. According to a report in the Indian Express, those accompanying Meghwal began pelting the police station with stones and a brawl broke out.
In Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh, a BJP MLA stirred up controversy after his angry reaction at the removal of anti-liquor protesters reduced a woman IPS officer to tears. The incident, which was caught on camera, went viral, earning the local MLA, Radha Mohan Das Aggarwal, much flak on social media.
Circle Officer Charu Nigam claimed that the MLA was angry because she had removed some people, protesting against a liquor shop. The MLA had apparently told the protesters to stay put until he arrived. The MLA, in turn, accused the police officer of high-handedness, dismissing her version of the events as baseless.
All these incidents have occurred in the last six months.
In each case, policemen have been abused and attacked for simply doing their jobs and refusing to follow the politicians' 'my high or the highway' rule. We are so used to seeing our politicians threatening and abusing law enforcers that it no longer shocks us. It is just routine news.
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