Lessons from Angulana | Daily News

Lessons from Angulana

The attack carried out on the Angulana Police station by an unruly mob on Wednesday can on no account be condoned whatever the provocation.

A group of around 75 persons said to be friends and relatives of a youth shot dead by a member of the Angulana Police following an altercation at a checkpoint in the area went on the rampage shortly after the magisterial inquiry, hurling stones and other missiles at the police station causing damage to the name board of the police station and a vehicle parked inside.

The scenes shown on television were disturbing with women taking the lead in the attacks hurling stones at the police to the accompaniment of foul language which was “beeped out” by TV stations. The STF and the Police anti-riot squad was called in by the beleaguered Angulana Police to quell the riot and disperse the crowd that was becoming increasingly violent. The scene opposite the Angulana Police resembled a battlefield with police and members of the mob including women engaged in running battles, as shown on television.

This was indeed an unprecedented incident and calls into question the preparedness of the police and their ability to face emergency situations and violent mob attacks. Certainly the Angulana Police in this instance was outnumbered by the mob who appeared to be in control of the situation at one stage going by TV footage.

An incident of this nature is alarming indeed and fraught with danger. It could cause a domino effect with other police stations being vulnerable to mob attacks at the slightest provocation which in turn would render the law and order situation coming under grave threat.

Hence, the authorities must act fast to arrest this trend. This is not the first time a police station had come under a mob attack. A police station in the South too was attacked by an angry mob following a similar incident. On that occasion arrests were made but nothing was heard of the perpetrators afterwards. In Angulana too 10 persons were arrested including relatives of the victim and it is likely that they would be let off lightly.

This reluctance on the part of the law enforcement to make examples of the perpetrators and law breakers, no doubt, will spur others with similar dispositions to take the law into their hands and even attack the guardians of the law.

Hence, the full force of the law should be brought to bear on those arrested and others who participated in the attack on the Angulana Police station who could be identified via CCTV and TV footage. Nothing less is going to prevent similar attacks on police stations in the future. Police stations too should be asked to be in readiness to counter any suspected mob attacks before the trouble starts.

It is unbecoming for a police station to suffer such humiliation in full view of the public and embolden other trouble makers to take on the law enforcement with impunity.

Prior to this, ugly scenes were witnessed before Court houses where mobs hooted and acted boisterously in the hallowed premises. Now we have a situation where the guardians of the law are being dished out the same treatment and worse, coming under physical attack.

The relatives and friends among the mob allege that the Angulana Police was soft peddling the investigation to shield a colleague from prosecution and hence their response. There may be grounds for such allegations and investigations into the mob attack on the Angulana Police should also include this aspect.

But nothing can justify the type of reaction that was seen opposite the Angulana Police station on Tuesday and a repeat should be avoided at all costs, lest the police service as a whole lose prestige and undermine its status as the country’s chief law enforcement arm.

This could lead not only to general lawlessness but even to an anarchic situation making the majority of peace loving public sitting ducks to law breakers and other dangerous elements in society when the police itself are seen to be vulnerable to physical attacks.

True, there are bad eggs within the police service, with some of them being trigger happy. The police, like the Tri- Forces, were most times in the frontlines of battle during the war years and this violent experience may have rubbed off on some its members which may be carrying this violent streak in them to this day. Recruitment to the police during this period also dispensed with the strict screening process due to urgent manpower requirements and persons with violent mindsets possibly entered the service. Hence, there is a need for a comprehensive reform in the police service and what is more, it must adapt to meet the present day challenges where crime has assumed different dimensions that call for skilled policing to combat. 

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