Mumbai constable’s family blows whistle on corruption within the ranks

corrupMpoliYashashree, the wife of a constable, and her four-year-old daughter Samrudhi Patil have begun an indefinite hunger strike at Azad Maidan to protest the alleged harassment of lower rank personnel and corruption in the police department.

Yashashree’s husband Pramod Patil, 33, a constable in the Sahar traffic police department joined the Mumbai police in 2005 and was posted at the DN Nagar traffic department. He was then transferred to the Malabar Hill division last year, a deputation that flouted the rules. He says Police personnel are posted near their homes or along the same line, as a committee is mandated to review each posting. He and his family in fact live in the Marol police quarters in Andheri East.

Patil filed an RTI application and allegedly faced relentless harassment within the ranks. His salary was also cut for 5 days when he took leave for just a day and he claims he was also given different duties all the time.

Yashashree said her hunger strike is a voice against such harassment. The family met the Commissioner of Police who assured them he would address their concerns.

She said they believe in him but the problem is in the system within the department. She wants more people, especially the wives of other police personnel to come out and support her protest. Patil is not permitted to sit in on the strike but he has taken leave to accompany his family.

Support has begun to pour in as many constables have extended their support but refused to go on record for fear of repercussions. One Constable suggests the lower rank police personnel be allowed to form unions and be given a platform to raise their voices, as is the case with IPS officers.