No Smashing Success Here
India Legal|September 27, 2021
The case of an SDM asking the police to smash the heads of protesters underscores the need for psychological testing for central services officers. That will stall the entry of unsuitable candidates
Rajbir Deswal

RECENTLY, a trainee IAS officer of the 2018 batch was caught on camera issuing orders to “smash the heads” of agitating farmers at Bastara Toll Plaza in Karnal district of Haryana. Some years ago, a senior IAS officer of the state had ordered some firemen in Chandigarh to jump from the fire brigade vehicle “to test their fitness”, resulting in leg fractures in many of them. There have been other instances in the state where, though police officers were not spared for their “acts of omission and commission”, it was difficult to proceed against officers belonging to the Indian Administrative Service, ubiquitously called the steel frame.

Often, police officers are found to be sitting ducks for the powers that be and targeted at will and proceeded against to buy peace with agitating crowds. All the police officers referred below later came clean, but the ruling dispensations often sacrificed them to ensure general calm.

Some three decades back, two boys belonging to Karavad village were killed in a chase, resulting in an alleged police encounter in Rohtak district of Haryana. To silence a protest by the villagers who had blocked a highway, a young assistant superintendent of police was booked for the murder of the two. A decade back, an SP was booked for murder for a protester’s death due to police firing during a blockade in Hisar. In February 2016, the Jat agitation in Haryana saw the suspension of an inspector general of police for his inept handling of the situation. About a quarterback, another IPS officer, a DIG, was placed under suspension because the brother of a minister, allegedly found the officer taking on the might of his powerful brother.

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