By: Noor Ul Haq

Last Sunday, I was driving on the outskirts of my home town with my 11 year old son. It was a peaceful afternoon, and washing my car on the road side was not on my mind. I drove past a small stream that flowed along the road. After driving for a few miles, I saw a few men washing their vehicles on the road side. I suddenly stopped my car. My son enthusiastically holding a mug started splashing water on the car.

I remember, as a child I used to wash my toy car with same enthusiasm. In the mean time, a police gypsy passed by. Pointing his finger towards the police van, my son started firing at the vehicle, a usual trend among kids in Kashmir.

The police vehicle stopped abruptly, making my son happy. “Me maer sarie police wael“. He thought he shot them all dead!

Suddenly the police vehicle started moved in reverse direction and stopped near my car. A burly police officer, with three bodyguards, stepped down from the vehicle. And without losing a moment he started yelling and showered abuses at me. You bloody mother******, why don’t you wash this piece of scrap at your home. Why are you splashing water on road? Haven’t you gone through new rules?

He started yelling new law in a high pitched tone, “Anybody who cleans furniture, or his vehicle or grooms any animal in a public place will be prosecuted and kept behind bars for six months.”

He didn’t not stop for a minute and kept going in the same tone, “You bloody nonsense seem to be literate, then why this? Is this your father’s property? Who have given you the right to wash your a** here?”

Finally he stopped abusing me and took my notebook from the car instead of vehicle papers. Pointing towards police van, he ordered me to get into the vehicle!

As the errant officer went through my notebook looking for my cars registrations and other information my son said in a low tone, Thanedaar uncle, Dekho kutta peshab kar raha hae! Usko b thane le chalo na! Isne be to rasta kharab kiya! (Officer, see a dog is defecating on the roadside. Take him to the police station. He has also polluted the space) (Laughter),”

This ‘joke’ somehow lessened the police officers anger.

He immediately softened his tone a bit, listen it is my duty and I am acting in’ good faith.

All of a sudden his expressions changed and said, “Bloody Hell! You are an anti national. You are a terrorist sympathizer. You work against the establishment!” He was looking at my notebook.

“No sir, I am a journalist”.

He shot back, “Oh I see, that is why you breaking the law. And who gave you authority to write against our national interests. Why you always talk about human rights violations in Kashmir?”

He then ordered me to get into the vehicle. “Let us talk about this in police station You journalists have no etiquettes’.”

As I climbed into the vehicle, my son who was watching me getting abused by the police officer, started to cry.

But without paying any heed to my son’s cries, the police officer slammed the door and said, “So what are you thinking now, Patrikaar sahib? You want to remain behind bars for a long time or should we compromise?”

I tried to plead with him about my innocence but in vain.

He once again showered me some choicest expletives and said, “You asking me what your crime is?  One you were washing car on the roadside which means six months behind the bars. And second for your anti-national activities only god knows where it will land you.”

He ordered his driver to start the vehicle. “Let us take him to the police station and teach him some manners.” But before driver could do anything I quickly searched my pockets and slipped an Rs 500 note into his hands.

His expressions changed quickly, and with a smile on his face officer said, “Listen no next time. Okay.  And don’t tell this to anyone or I can get you anytime. You know that. Don’t you.”

I nodded in affirmation. As I sat in my car, I thought of jotting the entire incident down. I asked my son for the pen. But suddenly realized that accepting any service from a below 14 kid can land one in jail for six months.  The dictate is now part of a new police bill.

I hurriedly drove back towards my home.

My son, who has witnessed the entire scene was my only stress buster. He asked me innocently, “Papa, will they also arrest army personnel who usually urinating on the roadsides?”

I had no idea how to convince my son that we live in a police state. Law is for common Kashmiris.

On our way back we had to pass by an army camp. As I reached near the main gate a strong voice ordered from inside the bunker, “Stop and step down. March in a queue.”

As we got down from the car my son started dancing rather than walking in a straight line as ordered.

I was not sure, whether it is my son or me who is out of the queue. I wanted to tell him that even this can land us in trouble.

With the police officers words still fresh in my mind, I wanted to be reach home before sunset. New police bill says anybody who drives drags or pushes any non-motorized vehicle at any time between half-an-hour after sunset and one hour before sunrise will be imprisoned for a term of one month with fine or six months with fine!

Let new police bill be passed as New Delhi wants ‘peace’ in Kashmir!

New Police Bill Highlights:

In order to replace archaic 1860 Police Act, Jammu and Kashmir government has drafted new law, a reminiscent of a medieval edict. See some of its comical provisions.

Section 136 and 137 relating to penalty for causing violation of public order.

The imprisonment for a term of one month with fine or six months or with fine, to any person –

 a) Who cleans furniture, article or vehicle or grooms any animal in a public place.

b) Drives, drags or pushes any non-motorized vehicle at any time between half an hour after sun set and one hour before sunrise.

c)Defecates or urinates in a public place.

d) Does not take due care of pets.

e) Buys any ornament, watch, pen, cycle, utensil or any valuable article from any person under the age of 14.

f) Breaks any queue, in any public place, formed for the purpose of orderly delivery whether public or private.


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