The incident occurred in Tamil Nadu on Wednesday evening. Usha, age 30, was riding on a two-wheeler with her husband. Since both were without a helmet, the cop (identified as Kamaraj) asked them to stop. When the husband, Raja, didn’t comply, Kamaraj chased them on this bike. After catching up with them, he kicked the vehicle which led to Raja losing the balance and crashing.
Usha, who was 4-months pregnant, was grievously injured and died on the spot. Still, the couple was taken to a nearby hospital where the doctors declared her dead.
Immediately after, the news spread like wildfire and as many as 3,000 protestors took to the road to protest against the police brutality. After some in the crowd started pelting stones, the police had to use lathi-charge to disperse the crowd. Later, police officials tried to pacify the agitators and assured them that the guilty inspector was arrested.
Kamaraj was meanwhile found in a hospital since he alleged to be injured during the incident. Even though the police arrested him, he is charged with “culpable homicide not amounting to murder”. Culpable homicide refers to actions that lead to the death of an individual, but without the intention of killing. While homicide can lead to life imprisonment, culpable homicide has a maximum term of 10 years.
This is not the first case of police brutality over trivial matters. A few months back, a traffic inspector hit a rider with a lathi for not wearing a helmet. In all such cases, we see a pattern: a belief that if you are implementing the law, only the ends matter, not the means.
It is must be made clear that we do not endorse violating traffic rules. but would any sane person consider hitting someone with a laathi or kicking their vehicle, for something as small as not wearing a helmet? What comes next, shooting you for not paying the taxes? Justice is validated as long as the punishment suits the crime. Anything apart from that is violence. It is time that our esteemed law enforcement understood that.