Sting operations are quite the flavour of the day. And though some argue that they are passé and almost everyone agrees they can get tiresome, at times they can be horrifyingly fascinating. As in a recent Star New sting, where reporters approached police officers and offered them money to bump off a so-called gunda.
And here’s the climax: they agreed! For a price, of course.
In the course of a cosy chat, the elderly cop who was “stung” was very forthcoming about police “encounters”. He said that they are all false, all set-ups. His logic was that criminals have weapons too. If one criminal is killed in an encounter, four cops could die as well. Too much of a risk. Hence, the system of made-to-order encounters works to everyone’s advantage! He also revealed that he earns about Rs 200,000 (bribes) from each such encounter.
This gent and another of his colleagues appeared calm and matter-of-fact negotiating the life of a human being. All in a day’s work for them. Money changed hands in front of the camera. Rs 10,000 (approximately $200) is apparently the going downpayment rate if you want someone bumped off!
That corruption is too deeply entrenched in society for it to go away easily is accepted. Indeed, in India it is a way of life. One would be hard pressed to find a single person in this country who has never had to pay a bribe. As for police corruption—in the first week of every month, the traffic cops in Delhi stop public transport buses on the roadside and extort money in front of watching travellers. We watch, bored or resigned, not really caring to protest. If we do, the likelihood of our journey being over is very high as hardly any of the buses carry proper documentation… And so it goes on and on.
But the Star New sting was quite something else. It showed the police as contract killers. It is immaterial to go on about how shocking it is. Actually, I don’t have the words to express myself.