A midnight conversation with the police

The time was past 1 am on the 1st of October. My two friends and I were taking a walk on the national highway. We had just eaten dinner. After covering some distance, I felt tired and suggested that we find a suitable spot by the roadside and take a little rest.

As we were resting, a police vehicle arrived and stopped in front of us. Around seven policemen came out of the vehicle and approached us. My friends noticed that one of them took a photo of us with his mobile phone with the flash on. An IRBn jawan asked what we were doing out so late at night. I replied, “Taking a walk, an evening walk.” He asked again, “Morning or evening walk?” I got thinking whether it was an evening or a morning walk as the time was 1 am.

The same jawan seemed agitated by the fact that we were loitering around at night. He started saying that rapists and murderers roam at night. One of my friends was a girl. He said, “What would you guys do if something happens to her? You guys would not even be able to save yourselves.” We do look harmless; time to hit the gym I guess. He then demanded to check my friends’ bags. One of them was carrying books. He even threatened to take us to jail.

On hearing that we could be arrested, I asked the policemen if we were doing anything wrong. Another policeman, who seemed more sensible, called me towards him and enquired if I had read the DC’s notice. I said yes and was aware of the curfew. He asked me my name and then told me to go. I took my friends who were in conversation with the jawan and left before the situation got out of hand.

The police were only carrying out their duty diligently and patrolling the highway. Their actions have been integral to keep our state safe. But this incident got me thinking. I thought that our state was a safe haven; at least the capital region was. The IRBn jawan will obviously be more aware of the crimes in our state than me. I only get to know about the crimes reported in the newspapers. I thought there weren’t many to be concerned. I hope the gentleman was overly worried about our safety and hence pointed out that we could be raped or murdered on the national highway. If he is right, then we ought to be really worried, right?

The sad part is that the jawan’s words reminded me of a quote by the defence lawyer of the accused in the Nirbhaya case: “If you put your diamond on the street, certainly the dogs will take it out.”

It also reminded me of my favourite stand-up comedian, Abhishek Upmanyu. He joked that he had watched all the episodes of ‘Crime Patrol’ and after detailed analysis, found the message behind the show. Thieves will steal, rapists will rape, murderers will murder; who are we to commit the crime of taking our body out to the streets?

Kojeen Gyati