Media Coverage

Look Out For That Book On ‘Burglars Incorporated’



Why are the Patna Police so keen that the local Media should only report the angle it wants in the Papiya murder case?

“It’s a planned burglary, don’t you see that? They came in a car, wanted her laptop and keys to her car. Papiya resisted and hence they had to kill her. “Easy man, it’s a open and shut case; ‘Bas yahi to likhna hai,’ the cops insist and with some desperation.

The officials are in fact calling up media men voluntarily and suggesting their own line even before the media can say “ummm”. And this, when lower level cops vehemently deny Papiya’s case could ever be so simple as a fallout of a burglary.

The angle of burglary solves many problems that a dehumanised and demoralised police force cannot tackle otherwise. First: the sections for burglary are simpler, next to nothing by way of legwork is called for. Investigations do not have to be protracted. No conspiracy theories have to be worked on. The paper work is less. Special Teams need not be constituted. Bigger people need not be investigated. Embarrassment levels would always be lower with this angle. And, superior officials can get away with the theory: “Burglars are petty, not many are on police records, it’s difficult to trace them.” With all that, Policemen can walk free of the case, as can the culprits.

It’s obvious, that Papiya’s sister, Tuktuk Ghosh’s fears are not being given the respect that are due. Tuktuk has already said, her late sister had been abused, intimidated many a time by people around and her house stoned. Who were these people? Certainly burglars do not live in huge, swanky buildings in Patliputra!

There is also a history in the form of a station diary in the Patliputra Thana when a politician-academician was involved in her intimidation. Yet, the Police are in a tearing hurry to walk away from the scene and as it is obvious they want to close the case as soon as it can. All this when the DGP would have us believe that the Chief Minister was insisting that all cases should be meticulously pursued and the law would take its own course, irrespective of who was involved.

Why? Who is involved, please? Will the feuding policemen ever let us know?

The Government’s embarrassment on the same day as the Police officials were being feted is not something the Chief Minister can afford to forget in a hurry. So, the largest worry for these officials is to hide the substantive arguments, go for the petty one and make it look real and see that it sticks. If not anywhere else, in the media at least. For the media, such proclamations, coming as they do from top cops or the ‘horse’s mouth’, represent the final word and is to be lapped up. To the contrary, however, what these cops are doing is to represent their failure as strength by practicing the Goebellian dictum that you have to lie again and again to be able to make it look good and true.

This writer has experienced the alacrity with which intelligence personnel used to try to plant stories in the interested Press with perfect timing after they had already filed a report on some imagined plot by Naxalites or criminals. Once In the Press, the lead info in the Police File would then look all the more credible with their superiors in the Home Department. Forget, that such imaginary plots never happened, the reason why the Bihar Intelligence service never busted a single plot and neither could predict until it was all over and miles from where anything was predicted to happen. The same type of effort is now being put in to prove burglars killed Papiya.

The ridiculous length to which the police have gone in the Papiya case is getting obvious too. Orders have gone out to Thanas to prepare a ‘Directory of Bihar burglars operating in Patna! Do the cops believe, it could be an all time bestseller or is it a novel technique in the evolution of its police-public partnership effort? If all that Patna wanted was a burglars list after every murder, the police force could as well go to sleep and we should all be content with the crime around. Or are the police planning to bag a Booker for its book on ‘Burglars Inc’? It wouldn’t till it put some of its officers in the actual plot for credibility!

That the State Administration, swearing by their better law and order situation, has taken a big hit is obvious from the alacrity with which a reward was announced for information leading to the culprits’ arrest and the CID was hurriedly co-opted. On Wednesday, there was news, that more officers were being drafted because the present set of officers, are proving to be incompetent. Are the cops so helpless, that even four days after the incident, they had not been able to locate the deceased’s car.

That the people on the street have more common sense than this set of cops, out to nab petty thieves, is obvious from the first reactions: People query why can’t the killers actually warp their entire effort of murder by making it look like a burglary? The extra effort of the police to swallow the killers’ gamble to distract-hook, line and sinker- actually calls into question the investigation temper and their khaki’s worth. Do we have to rely on this police, so low on I.Q to protect us?So, watch out on your telly for that rickshaw-puller in your locality who may have been taking your children and grandchildren to school each day, standing with his face covered in a thana and the police claiming a reward for having solved the case so swiftly and recovered the booty (which may be hired from the repairs shop) and making for a happy Tipsy Thursday! By the time we see the ‘culprit’, he would have already been thrashed out of this world and would be too ready to accept that he stuck that knife into the victim’s tummy.

To the simple man on the street, this case is not being bungled. They have bungled on the evidence already. Isn’t it time, the DGP and the IGP, Patna went on a long walk somewhere?