After standing her ground against members of the India’s Bharatiya Janata Party, Shrestha Thakur, a deputy superintendent in India’s Uttar Pradesh State, will be transferred to the position of a “circle officer” at Syana in Bulandshahr district.
The decision to transfer Thakur came after a video of the officer refusing to yield to BJP members went viral on social media. In the video, a mob of angry men surrounded Thakur after she arrested and fined one of their associates for failing to drive with the appropriate documents. The mob, which included the BJP city president, Mukesh Bhardwaj, surrounded Thakur and yelled at her during most of the encounter.
Thakur remained collected throughout, stating that she would abide by the men’s demands if they were able to produce a written statement from the Chief Minister that exempts them from the laws that require drivers to carry proper documents.
“You please go and get written orders from the Chief Minister that the police have no right to check vehicles and we will stop standing on the road,” she said.
Thakur had arrested BJP worker Pramod Kumar for driving a motorcycle without a helmet, documents, or a license plate.
Policing in India is often a battle between opposing powers. A caste system that gives many of its citizens preferential privileges and an often corrupt political system makes it difficult for police to enforce the law.
Thakur’s transfer isn’t the first of its kind. Many police officers who have acted against BJP leaders have been transferred in the past.
The corruption rate in India is double the global average. While only about 27% of people globally admit to paying a bribe to access a public service or institution in the last 12 months, the percentage in India is 54%, or over half of all its citizens.
The Times of India reports that political parties are the most corrupt institution in India, rating them a 4.4 out of 5 on a corruption scale on which 1 is the least corrupt and 5 is the most.
People in India also overwhelmingly believe that the policing system is corrupt.
In a research study by SHri UNB Rao, 75 percent of adolescent students from nine different mega/metropolitan cities of India “spoke ill of police and policing mechanism,” and 60 to 90 percent said they believed the police were “corrupt.”
Thakur posted a message on Facebook to express her thoughts after hearing of the transfer.
“Got transfer to Bahraich, it’s Nepal border, don’t worry my friends I am happy … I accept it as a reward for my good work … u all are invited to bahraich(sic),” she wrote.
People on social media applauded Thakur for her actions, praising the officer for standing up for the law and for her positive outlook on her transfer.
At the end of Thakur’s Facebook message, she included an Urdu couplet, which translates to: “A lamp does not have a house. It spreads light wherever it goes.”
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