When Washing Car Is A Crime
By Noor ul Haq
04 March, 2013
A satirical take on Jammu & Kashmir Police Bill 2013
Last Sunday, I was driving in the outskirts of my home town with my 11 year old son. Washing the car on a road side was not in my mind but on seeing water on roadside and people washing their cars, I stepped out from my car. My son enthusiastically holding a mug started splashing water on the car. I remember, as a child I used to wash my toy car with same enthusiasm. In the mean time, a police gypsy passed by. Pointing his finger towards the police van, my son started firing at the vehicle, a usual trend in Kashmir. The police van came to halt abruptly, making my son happy. "Me maer sarie police wael". He thought that he shot dead them all!
Police vehicle moved in reverse direction and stopped near my car and a burly police officer with his 3 bodyguards stepped down from the vehicle. Yelled, abused, slapped! You bloody mother******, can't you wash this piece of scrap at your home, why are you splashing water on road side? Haven't you gone through our new dictum? Anybody who cleans furniture, article or vehicle or grooms any animal in a public place is supposed to be behind the bars for six months besides paying the fine. You bloody nonsense seem to be literate, then why this? Is this your father's property? Who have given you the orders to wash up your a** here?
Fuming, the officer took my notebook from the car instead of vehicle papers. Pointing towards police van, he ordered me to get into the vehicle!
Thanedaar uncle, Dekho kutta peshab kar raha hae! Usko b thane le chalo na! Isne be to rasta kharab kiya! (Officer, see a dog is defecating on roadside. Take it also to police station. It has also polluted the space) (Laughter) It was my son.
This 'joke' somehow minimized/lessened the police officers anger. ('Politely' speaking) listen it is my duty and I am acting in' good faith ', as he flipped through pages of my notebook. His eyes stuck on a page. O, you are an anti national also. You are a terrorist supporter/ sympathizer also? You work against the establishment! "No sir, I am a journalist". Oh I see, that is why you are committing mistakes and breaking the laws. And who gives you such powers to write against national interests, against the police HR violations in Kashmir?
Just get into the vehicle, I will talk to you police station and make you learn some etiquettes; you journalist folk are worst manner less species on this earth. I made my entry into the vehicle. Upon seeing this, my son started crying. The police officer closed the door and said so what are you thinking now, Patrikaar sahib? Whether to go police station and remain behind the bars for years altogether or should we compromise. Sir, what did I do? What, you mother******, you were washing your piece of scrap on a roadside for which you will have to spend six months behind bars and for your anti national write ups, God knows for how much years you will be lodged in jail.
Driver, start the vehicle. Let us take him to police station and give him a lesson. I just searched my pockets and forwarded a note of Rs 500 towards the officer. With a smile, officer said, Listen no next time and don't tell this to anyone, either I can label any allegation against you!
I left dejected. Sat into the car. I wanted to pen down this episode in my dairy. Can you lend me your pen, I asked my son. He forwarded towards me, but I took my hands back. You can be put behind bars if you buy any ornament, watch, pen, cycle, utensil or any valuable article from any person under the age of 14, police bill orders.
Drove back to home. Somehow naughty son on my left was a stress buster. "Papa, will they also put the army personnel usually seen urinating/defecating on the roadsides"! What could have been my answer except that it is a police state! rules and laws are only made for common Kashmiris.
Was about to pass by an army camp in my way back to home. A wave of hand stopped. "Step down and march in a queue"! My son was dancing, not walking straight in the queue and I was not sure, whether it is my son or myself, who is out of the queue. Because breaking a queue can land you behind the bars.
I wanted to be back at my place before sunset because new Police bill says anybody who drives, drags or pushes any non-motorized vehicle at any time between half an hour after sun set and one hour before sunrise will be imprisoned for a term of one month with fine or six months with fine!
Let only my furniture get layers of dust, I will not wash it off. Let there be no pets in my home, who knows tomorrow any officer in the line of duty will put you behind bars for not . Let the rule of police state go on, so that officers get extra bucks from common people. Let it go on for the betterment of higher officials what if common masses suffer! Let it go, for politicians want their seats secured. Let new police bill be passed for New Delhi wants peace in Kashmir!
In order to replace archaic 1860 Police Act, Jammu and Kashmir government has drafted new law, a reminiscent of a medieval edict. See some of its comical provisions.
Section 136 and 137 relating to penalty for causing violation of public order. The imprisonment for a term of one month with fine or six months or with fine, to any person
a) Who cleans furniture, article or vehicle or grooms any animal in a public place.
b) Drives, drags or pushes any non-motorized vehicle at any time between half an hour after sun set and one hour before sunrise
c) Defecates or urinates in a public place
d) Does not take due care of pets
e) Buys any ornament, watch, pen, cycle, utensil or any valuable article from any person under the age of 14
f) Breaks any queue, in any public place, formed for the purpose of orderly delivery whether public or private
Moreover, people consider it as revival of village defence committees (VDCs) and special police officers and rewards for informers. The move is also contrary to the Supreme Court judgment on Salwa Jadum,(which operates in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh) stating the states cannot arm civilians and then allow to kill. Under the draft, Police can declare on their own the areas for special security zones thereby depriving people of various rights. Moreover, it is also considered that corruption level will raise in the already top ranking corrupt state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Noor ul haq is a Srinagar based freelance journalist, a mass communication student, interested in social and political arenas of life. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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