Prateek Vats is a Delhi-based filmmaker.

Prateek Vats
Prateek Vats

Dear Friends and adversaries,

Please consider this appeal as addressed to each and every one of you. Each one of you is a partner.

We share your grief about losing one of your colleagues in the aftermath of the chaos which has gripped the capital in the recent days. We are deeply grieved and saddened to learn that a person serving his duty has to lose his life in such fashion. We share the anger. And the resentment. We are angry.

Angry about how things are panning out .Angry about how convenient it is for the people in power to  irresponsibly pit  people against their own people and make a democratic protest into a street fight. We are angry that a force which should ensure security of citizens, which should instill confidence in people, is used to terrorize the very same people. What happened? When did the police and other such institutions become a tool to protect the alleys of the power against their own people?

photo: prakash k ray
photo: prakash k ray
photo: prakash k ray
photo: prakash k ray

The BRUTAL and inhuman crackdown on the protestors has left us with a sickening feeling .What happened that you had to lathi charge students, housewives and hundreds and thousands of men and women? Where were these tear gas shells when murderous gangs butchered thousands of Sikhs to leave a permanent scar through the heart of the city? Where were your water cannons when thousands were picked up and moved out of the capital so that it is presentable for the commonwealth games?

Some have told us that its duty. We are a little ignorant. Please tell us what your duty is. Is it to become a lethal toy in the hands of the ministers, beuaracrats and the big businesses? We are fast reaching a point where we really need to start distinguishing between state agencies and private militias who are let loose on any sign of dissent.

At the same time we feel sorry for you that you have to follow such orders by people who are insensitive, highly irresponsible and are so selfish. It is high time you took a note that these powerful people have no sympathy or heart…not for you, not for us.

It is ironical that when your colleague Mr. Subhash Tomar was losing the battle for his life, your Prime Minister was penning a deal of $ 4 Bn with the Russians. He had time for it but not enough time to address the protesters. For that you were there. To get your hands bloodied. To get your faces shamed.

We want to ask you that have you ever wondered that how a protest against policies becomes your responsibility to quell? And quell violently? You were put in to protect democracy and you end up being the tool to lathi charge it into the ground. But we must admire that not a word of resentment comes from you when your people are suspended whenever there is a backlash. Duty Bound should mean something else. You are being taken for a ride and you don’t seem to mind.

National security must mean more than protecting the buildings where the powerful and the power brokers live. It must mean something much more important and sensitive in a country where the power circles invoke Mr. Mohan Das Gandhi whenever it suits them and simultaneously arm and unleash you on the public.

photo: prakash k ray
photo: prakash k ray

Social evolution has to be an upward spiral. Let us not try to beat it into a straight line. History is witness that meaningful steps towards strengthening a society are taken when the army/police/paramilitary refuse to be mere tools in the hands of a few. They take a stance. We don’t need to go too back. Around 2 years back we had seen how swiftly things had moved when the army in Egypt refused to train their guns on their own people.

It is our humble request that each one of you; irrespective of his/her rank /designation/area of jurisdiction introspect. That society is made by you and us. If you continue to see as you against us then never can we hope to have any kind of real social reforms in this country. We know that if you were not in your uniforms then many of you would have been on the other side of the lathis, tear gas and water canons. Today we appeal/request/demand that you speak up. Raise your voice and not the Lathi. Please don’t convince us that power flows through the barrel of a gun!!

At the end of these frenzied days what are we left with: A young girl battling for life, a dead police officer and thousands and thousands of people who are angrier than they were when the protests broke out. And then there are these people in power, irrespective of their political allegiances who sit there and plan about how to reap mileage through this horrible tragedy.


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