You are here:

Cameras are now India’s big hope for justice

by Anant Rangaswami  Jul 13, 2012 13:32 IST

#CCTV cameras   #HowThisWorks   #Police   #Videos  

What would we do without cameras?

On Thursday, once again, they came to the rescue – this time at Guwahati.

“Police have shockingly arrested only three persons, after a minor girl was molested, groped and beaten up by a mob for half an hour in full public glare in Guwahati on Monday night. The video footage of the incident was put out by a television news crew that filmed the shocking incident,” we reported.

A few days ago, it was cameras used in a sting operation that provoked outrage over the role that black money plays in Bollywood.

Little over a week ago, a minor girl was kidnapped from Mumbai’s Chhattrapati Shivaji Terminus – and the act was caught by CCTV cameras. The footage showed the kidnapper clearly, leading to his arrest at Haridwar in Uttar Pradesh.

If there is anything you can beat Mumbai’s assistant commissioner of police Vasant Dhoble with, it is the shocking video pictures showing him brandishing a hockey stick. The images are arresting, at once diverting the focus from all the good that Dhoble has achieved.

Cameras have become an important tool of social documentation. Reuters.

These are all examples from just the last month of situations when cameras have played a positive role – and have been important witnesses.

Law enforcement agencies, stretched to the limit, would find prosecution difficult without the video evidence. In the Guwahati case, for example, a few offenders were arrested within hours of their crime, and more will follow. The sting operation which exposed Bollywood’s black money dealings has ignited a debate on the quantum on black money and on high taxation rates. In the case of the kidnapping of the minor girl, the availability of video footage has, in all probability, averted a tragedy.

And in Vasant Dhoble’s case, the footage does something remarkable – playing the role of the watchdog on law-enforcement.

If video pictures today only help bring the guilty to book, their increasing ubiquitousness might, one day, play a more important role – deterring the criminals from committing a crime, fearing their act being captured on camera.