CHENNAI: When A Rajamanickam* finished his sub-inspector training two years ago, he was just 27. A graduate in commerce, the lure of a government job and the khaki uniform in particular made him aspire to join the force. After clearing the required tests, a batch of trainees was put through the grind at the Tamilnadu Police Academy in Vandalur.
“We were trained in law, weapons, police drills, administration, criminology, IPC, CrPC and other things,” recalls Rajamanickam. The training kept him in good stead, fulfilling the expectations of his higher-ups in the force.
“Hierarchy – that’s strongly injected in our minds. It is ill-advised to overstep or bypass hierarchy,” he says. But, their need to feed the ego of the hierarchy also means that the personnel become indifferent over time to blood, gore and human emotions, according to a city police inspector.
“To be frank, the first time I assisted my inspector in a murder investigation, I was so keen on securing the evidence that I was not perturbed by the gore,” says Rajamanickam. A woman was murdered, her face smashed with a huge rock. “It was damaged beyond recognition. I felt nothing,” he says. Rajamanickam is just beginning and still has a long way to go.
But not everyone is stoic in the face of violence. “I have seen people dying in front of my eyes, their limbs twitching before they finally stop. Apart from doctors and hospital staff, I think policemen are the ones who get to deal with blood and death regularly,” says R Palani* (48), a head constable. How does he feel? “Not good,” Palani says, “But this is part of the job and I know nothing else after spending more than two decades as a low-rung policeman in the force,” he adds. For some, senior personnel in the force help out. However, for those who have become indifferent to the extent of becoming insensitive, the job becomes a matter of survival.
When CE spoke to a few inspectors, they had an interesting viewpoint: the constant need to update seniors over wireless and the compulsion to follow orders make them so uncomfortable that they forget that they are dealing with humans under abnormal circumstances.
“During our SI training, we are taught about forensic science too, wherein we would be taken to scenes of crime and accident spots for practical training. But, when it comes to reality, it’s a different game altogether,” avers a city police inspector, who adds that he has investigated cases where the bodies were completely charred, decomposed, and heads and limbs chopped off. “As the investigating officer, I have to reconstruct what would have happened and the images are not very healthy for the mind. But, at that moment, we will also have to secure the crime scene, collect evidence, file the FIR and complete other administrative work. There is no room to let other thoughts in,” says an inspector. “So, we just go with the flow,” another inspector added.
I have seen people die in front of my eyes, their limbs twitching before they finally stop. Apart from doctors, police are the ones who deal with blood and death regularly
— Police officer