Abuse of Power

Tony Baig, son of Rajouri-Kathua Range Deputy Inspector General of Police Shakeel Baig, recently created furore by posting pictures that, as he boasted, showed how his father has always lived a king’s life. One picture showed an orderly tying Shakeel’s shoelace. After widespread condemnations, the police ordered a probe into the misuse of power by the police officer.

Another picture that appeared on Facebook had PDP legislator Javid Mustafa Mir brandishing an AK-47 rifle in public. Prior to it, National Conference MLA Nasir Sogami’s son was also seen holding an AK-47 rifle.

Except for Mir’s picture, which had been probably posted by someone from the rival camp to show him in a bad light, Sogami’s son and Tony had uploaded the pictures on their own.

Shakeel Baig is a police officer in an insurgency-ridden Kashmir. The power that flows to him on account of this fact is not, say, the same as a DIG enjoys in Goa. By posting these pictures, Tony Baig was only expressing an unconscious wish to emulate his father. This close encounter with power has the potential to further harm the moral build-up of the youngster, if advertising his father’s abuse of power has not harmed it already.

Similarly, Sogami’s son brandishing a gun is no big deal. Security personnel who guard politicians and other persons in Kashmir often develop affinity with their families. Thus, a Sogami’s guard would have afforded the young boy some fun by giving him his weapon, although in violation of law. These incidents only show how the children of the powerful are at the risk of developing a taste for the abuse of power, like their parents. We have enough instances in which the son of a politician got away after beating up an official.

In Kashmir, power has been identified with the brute force of the state’s gun. When a legislator like Javid Mustafa Mir, who is otherwise hailed as an honest politician in his constituency, publically exhibits weapons, he is only strengthening this image, the identification of power with gun.

And it doesn’t help when Mir tries to justify his action as self-defence, or Sogami puts forward a lame alibi saying his son brandished the weapon because he wanted to be a police officer. If a common man’s son were put up such a display of machismo, he would surely end up behind the bars under the Public Safety Act.