Saturday, March 28, 2009

Merciless belabouring of pick-pockets

When policemen catch a pickpocket, they first thrash him severely in public, and only then do they arrest him . When a group ofIndians catch a pickpocket, they furiously belabour him until a policeman arrives on the scene .The policeman lets the mob thrash the pickpocket until the mob stops to rest their aching arms.
This is illegal . The policeman can only arrest a pickpocket and book a case. The members of the public can only hand over thepickpocket to the police. In the US or UK, a policeman would be suspended and face an enquiry for such a barbaric act. The entire world press would splash the event on their pages as an example of racism.
Pickpockets are very poor people who are uneducated , are under the full control of a criminal gang, and who would starve if they didnt steal.They steal to survive. They have no alternative career path.
Now I am of the tiny minority opininon that such beatings are not only illegal, but highly reprehensible , grotesqeulycruel, and should be stopped altogether . To try to convince you, let me list out some crimes/criminals that I feel are much more evil , and all of which deserve 100 to a million times more severe punishments. After you beat the following guys, you could turn on pickpockets:( Note : 1 crore = 10 million )
1. Politicians. They wont starve if they didnt take a bribe or swindle the treasury . But they swindle crores of rupees. A pickpocket may rob Rs500 from your pocket, once in your life. Lets say a certain politician earns Rs x crore illegally, India's population is 115 crore . This guy has robbed Rs x/100 from your pocket. Now multiply that by the number of Indian politicians. The reason is , that only 2 or 3 pickpockets may rob from you in your lifetime. But whenever anypolitician swindles money, he robs you of Rs x/100 .
2. Ditto for all stinking rich tax evadors. Again, calculate the amount of tax evasion in India , and divide it by 115 crore.That is the money that these tax evadors steal from your pocket.
3. Ditto for ALL bribe givers and takers. ALL corrupt people . Calculate total bribes / 115 crore.
4. If India had less corruption,we would have less power breakdowns. Corruption is responsible for inferior materials used in all stages of power distribution . We would not have to suffer mosquito bites in sweltering heat at 2 am.
5. All who play dirty politics in every office in the world. When you lose a job due to office politics, you lose money every month for the rest of your life -- a huge amount. Or you may get less increment, or miss a promotion.
So this is my request to you . Once all the above-mentioned blokes have been thrashed in proportion to the amount they swindle, if you still have any energy left, you could think of punishing pickpockets. Till then, just hand them over to the police.
Please sensitize all those you come into contact with , on this issue . I mean , say , the watchman in your building, the guys at the nearest auto stand, peons, etc. Let them laugh at this idea, but it might germinate.
We also need somthing like the SPCA, say an organization for prevention of brutal battery of pick-pockets. This organization would pressurize the Govt to stop all extra-judicial assaults on Pickpockets and petty thieves , by the police or lay public.
Jai Hind.
Footnote : no one can lift a finger against the corrupt people mentioned above. Nor against organized crime . A few of them do get arrested and jailed now and then . We can only try to better the lives of the rest of society. So I am actually requesting : DONT thrash petty thieves, ever . And we need to spread this idea all over the place including villages.


  1. Ram, your point is very true - on a relative scale, i think chennai is better than kolkata (at least till the early 90s)
    the pickpockets or petty thieves were badly humiliated, half head shaven, half moustache shaved etc. such brutality was never logical but at the same time, we must not justify the act of stealing as well. the organization you speak about should have 2 objectives, prevention of merciless thrashing of such kind of petty criminals and most importantly giving them direction through counselling / creation of opportunities to ensure they dont go back to the wrong way of dealing with poverty and hunger. i also remember a decent guy who was trying to steal clothes because he had heroin addiction. so, we must hit at the root cause of such actions.
    also, recently there was this law college incident in chennai - take one look at that video and you will wonder why people can be so merciless!
    good post though - u bring out something that has angered me for a long time.

  2. Hi Ranga, thanq for the info . i saw the video -- its atrocious. The policemen who were at the scene, and simply enjoyed the gruesome spectacle, should be tortured daily for the rest of their miserable lives. They are million times worse than the criminals who did the beatings. How come this was missed by the Hindu and other newspapers. Obviously there is a nexus between the police and the politicians backing the involveds students. Same in the High Court incidents. And the reaction of Covai LAw college criminals. Proves at least 30% of Indian college attendees are criminals and future politicians masquerading as students -- this needs another post.

  3. Very true facts, Ram! The personal and social Integrity are the main solution for all these issues! Keep writing more and more! -- Mahendiran

  4. Thank you very much, Mahendiran . And you summarized the solution very well . We need very strong morals and ethics

  5. I'll have you know that I've been the victim of several pickpockets. And it's mostly my fault since i've really been careless about my mobiles and wallets. But you know how it is travelling on an indian train especially !
    But the most unusual thing happened the other day, my friend travelling from Dadar to Thane fell victim to a undercover operation by the Railway Police. He boarded the barely breathable local from Dadar on Fri evening and at Ghatkopar he made a stunning discovery. A booklet printed by the railway police talking about how to keep pockets safe - pocket safety guides - had made its way into his pocket completely unknown to him. The guide went on to explain to him how pickpockets operate and if someone can drop something into people's pocket, they can easily take something out. I was just as shocked when my friend told me about it and I have to say I haven't till date seen a point being made in such an emphatic manner. As unsettling as it can be, it makes total sense. This one I must say, the Railway guys got right!

  6. Hi Ujjwal, After i first lost my pocket in Mumbai ( 1986 ), i started taking only a small sum, like Rs 7 /-, in a tiny plastic bag - the kind used to sell 50g of stuff.
    Your acount of the railway police guide is very interesting indeed !! Very nice of them indeed .
    regards, ram.

  7. Well written. We are the first to raise our voice against Taliban extremists for flogging people and yet don't hesitate to do that to petty criminals.

  8. very true. btw a recent Goodle video shows Taliban flogging a young lady . I havent seen it, need to recover from seeing the Chennai "Law college" brutality.

  9. ok.. a counter view.. i too have seen members of public beat up a fellow so bad that all his mudhugelumbus would have been broken. in fact, a fellow whom i unwittingly helped steal an AC (i think u commented on that post of mine) was bleeding from the mouth when i saw him. i am firmly against this kind of pack hooliganism. however, policemen giving a few controlled shots that hurt like hell but do not scar a person, i am not against. such things only help to increase the authority of the police. its akin to beating children. some amt of beating is understandable. however, no one wants it to go overboard.

    and i totally agree there are bigger criminals roaming around. i think the crime is in the thinking and not in the doing. a lot of freaks may well be roaming around in the guise of a white collar worker and despite their interior, may still appear respectable to the world. whereas the poor sometimes do it out of lack of choices.

    another sad fact is the law cannot take into account circumstances of crimes. another example would be murder committed under extreme duress. the law simply does not and probably cannot account for the criminal's ability to reform.


  10. Yes, the real world is very complex. The problem is that controlled beatings seem to have gone out of hand. Many goons and sadists seem to be misusing this facility in third world countries. School-children have even died, or suffered grievous injuries. Even in UK and US , a kid or 2 gets severely beaten every year, usually by a parent and a step-parent in tandem. This gets wide press coverage.