ASIA: Women's views on prevention of torture - Interview 12
INDIA: Interview with Sanajabi, a
Mrs. Raj Kumari Sanajaobi is a homemaker and represents the ordinary women in Manipur state, India. She lives in Singjamei Chingamakha Yanglem Leikai, Manipur
What do you think of the policing system of your country? Is it good? Or do you think it should be different? Kindly explain.
The whole system of police administration may be as beautiful in paper and law and I have no exact knowledge of it. But what I know is that in the early days, police were trusted by the general public and they protected the people. But now they are not trustworthy.
Nowadays, police are a big threat to the general public because of their criminal attitude. And after the implementation of Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958 the number of security forces in the state have increased. Moreover, state forces acts in the same manner like army personnel after the AFSPA is implemented. They even kill people for money. A huge amount of bribe has to be paid in order to get a job in the police department. I believe it is a root cause for corruption. People are also afraid of police because of their immoral behavior.
What do you think of police torture? Good, Bad? Kindly explain.
It is not appropriate to torture any person who is in custody. If a person is arrested, they must be informed why the person is arrested and should not be tortured. Torture cannot help in anything other than distancing ordinary people like me from the police.
What is your idea of good relationship between police and citizens?
At present there is no good relationship between police and citizens. There is no trust between us and them. Police should protect the people and not torture or kill them. Only then the citizen would trust police and a good relationship can begin.
If you have a problem, would you feel safe to go to police and complain? Kindly explain.
No, I won’t complain to the police at all because I am afraid of the police. Instead, I would consult other people. If I went to the police they will ask for money. If I fail to pay they will file false cases against me. They can rape me or even kill me. No one will ask. It has happened countless times in Manipur. No one was punished so far. So you tell me now whether you will go to a police station?
Is there a domestic violence law in your country? If yes, is it well implemented? If not what are the problems?
We do have domestic violence law in our country. According my belief in Manipur we have low number of cases of domestic violence. There are issues where culprits of domestic violence were punished by the community itself.
If a woman finds unsafe to go to a police station for much more a serious crime like the murder of her son or theft because of her fear for the police, how can you expect her to approach the police with her domestic complaints? If one does so, you might get raped by a policeman. So why should one risk of being raped by a few police officers to lodge a complaint against her husband's beatings? No law in this country will work if our police continue like this. If this country has to change, the police must change first.
Do you have anything else to say regarding the issues women face as regards to law enforcement in the state you live?
Persons implementing the law are not aware of the peoples' feeling. Cases of rape and molestation by police personnel are often witnessed by the general public. Mother’s see their sons killed; daughter being raped by the police and other state agencies. None can stand these.
So women in Manipur have come out to protest against these and in particular against the crimes committed by the police. Law enforcers have no mercy and regard for human rights. This situation must end.