Using Meenakshi’s death by Kejriwal to ask for control of Delhi Police

Meenakhi, a 19 year old girl was brutally murdered in a public market in Delhi on the night of 16 July 2015. [ToI news]. Meenakshi’s police complaint in 2013 had led to Prakash (alleged stalker) and his mother Shashi Bala being taken into preventive custody. So they had a grudge on her. And they showed it on 16th July, when as the witnesses describe, Prakash’s mother and brother Eelu caught Meenakshi by the hair and twisted her arms in a public market place. And then Prakash allegedly stabbed her in the abdomen and shoulder. Prakash was later arrested by the police. Arvind Kejrial quoted this example to once again demand that Delhi Police’s control be passed on to State Government. Here’s a neutral take on using Meenakshi’s case to push for this demand by Kerjriwal.

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The Good

  • This is what Kerjriwal was quoted saying by PTI: “”I request Prime Minister Narendra Modi with folded hands that the control of Delhi Police be handed over to us. He has to run the complete country. I am not saying Delhi Police officials are wrong. They are very good people and are working but the system is bad. Even Police officials themselves are frustrated with this and no improvement is happening”. It is encouraging to see that Delhi Police per say are not being targeted but the existing structure under which they have to operate has been pointed as the reason for such incidents to take place.
  • From the perspective of democracy, it makes sense for the government (voted to power by public) to have final control over the police force that is responsible for law and order of the citizens.
  • Delhi might not be like a typical state because it is a capital city but there are international precedents to back up this demand (for example, even in USA, the federal government does NOT control the police of Washington DC; it is controlled by the elected Mayor except in “designated areas”; more international examples can be read in this article).

The Bad

  • It is impossible to believe that irrespective of who controls Delhi Police, such incidents will never happen. And therefore it is kind of unethical to use someone’s personal tragedy (just because it’s in the news) within such a short span of time, for political gains. It just sounds very opportunistic even if the demand has a good basis.
  • If Delhi State Government controls the police, the security of the functionaries and institutions of Central government located mainly in New Delhi district could be questioned (though this is a weak argument because keeping full control of a state police does not sound like the only or the best way to address this issue, especially when there are several international cities who have the exact same issue but don’t need to fully control the police).
  • Delhi is possibly too important to leave its law and order at the mercy of state politicians?

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