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Palaniswamy's Cauvery dip: What was the point of forcing policemen in uniform to get soaked to protect CM?

Nothing underscores the absurdity of the lopsided usage of cops by VIPs than Tamil Nadu chief minister K Palaniswami taking a purification a dip in the Cauvery river along with textiles minister OS Manian and chief government whip S Rajendran.

A huge crowd watched them perform their rituals in their sleeveless "vesties", while a cordon of security personnel guarded the pudgy personalities.

 Palaniswamys Cauvery dip: What was the point of forcing policemen in uniform to get soaked to protect CM?

Tamil Nadu chief minister Palaniswami with ministers OS Manian and S Rajendran take a dip in the Cauvery river. PTI

Police in full uniform had to stand in neck deep water, holding onto little rubber lifesavers, while a cop on the salvage boat looked like a dip in the water already got his pants wet. The whole tableau is ripe for ribald laughter. And begs the question, how can cops stop attackers while treading water? They weren't even armed, and are far too occupied just to hang in there. Can you visualise 20-odd people finally emerging from the water, dripping wet, like a gaggle of geese? If there were to be potential assassins, they would have no problems at all.

One should also try imagining when did the cops change into dry clothes. The fact that they didn't even take off their clothes before getting into the water makes for even more comedy. Why did they not dress for the occasion, instead of wearing their uniforms in the water? Actually, why did the cops need to be in the water in the first place? What kind of slavish mentality makes a senior officer force his men into such situations? Did they not recognise doing so didn't enhance safety measures in any way? On the contrary, having men in the water only reduces their efficacy as far as safety is concerned.

All this safeguarding of VIPs and the ridiculous lengths to which we go only makes us appear foolish. Some of the men taking a dip in the water are probably special forces men, the NSG types who have been ordered to tread water to save the political leaders of the state. One wonders how many of these security guys can actually swim; in fact, one guy to the right is clinging on to the rubber ring as if to save himself from drowning.

The nonsense that goes on in our inflated VIP syndrome is accentuated by the fact that only last week a report was released by the Bureau of Police Research and Development under the Ministry of Home Affairs, indicating the disparity between these sanforised political luminaries and the public whose servants they ostensibly are.

There are three cops for every exalted individual plus support staff, and there is one policeman for 761 Indians, which comes to just 31 cops for 100,000 of us. In dazzling contrast stand 47,557 cops protecting 14,842 VIPs, and that is the official modest estimate, because there are never only three policemen around one political luminary. Even the United Nations demands that there be one police constable for every 450 citizens, and we just about hit 60 percent of that figure, even though unemployment is a major hydra-headed monster in the country.

Any way you hack it, the chasm makes no sense. If the ministry itself is aware of these anomalies, does it not make sense it remove them? Get out of the water, people, and dry up.

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Updated Date: Sep 21, 2017 16:49:40 IST

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