Back to Chapter 9
Chapter 10 : Police Pilot Plan (Continued)
The gist of the explanation given by inspector Kulkarni was like this: Habib was taken to various hindu and muslim family members in different wards of Mumbai with 2 types of set up.
In Plan A, 2 hindu and 2 muslim police officers and 1 or 2 other police officials (mostly from law and order section) would visit some families. In those meetings the police officers would show their identity cards to the family members. All the police officers would be in plain clothes only and not in police uniforms.
In Plan B, the same police officers and the other officials as in Plan A, would visit some other families in some other localities. But this time, they would not tell the people that they were police officers, but introduce themselves as members of a non government organisation doing work of improving the lives of the poorer sections of the people, giving them education in various trades like electrician, plumber, computer courses etc.
In both the types of meetings they would introduce Habib as a computer tutor.
They found that in Plan B meetings, the people were forthcoming with their feelings in a little more free manner, expressing their fears about the differences between hindus and muslims, their reservations towards each other, even their hatred towards the other community members etc, while in Plan A meetings, people did not express their true views, since they were fearful of expressing their opinions in the presence of the police officers.
This way the police officers were able to judge the pulse of the two different communities, so that they could formulate a plan to make both the communities to understand each other better and work out a suitable plan of action to bring harmony among both the communities.
It was clear that the people assembled there in front of Kulkarni did not get convinced by what he was describing to them. They felt that he was simply trying to sidetrack the issues without making any attempts to solve their immediate problems. But they were not ready to express their feelings for fear of upsetting Kulkarni.
Kulkarni continued, “These ideas had already been tried in the past in Mumbai some years ago between hindu and muslim communities and met with success in getting peace established between them”.
“So learning from the success of those limited efforts, we are planning an elaborate scheme, wherein we wish to establish trust and friendship between the hindu and muslim communities primarily, as well as to see that the poorer sections of both the communities get opportunities to get vocational education for getting useful earning opportunities”.
“We are in touch with some industrial houses and charitable trusts to make this project a success. The idea is once the younger generation gets proper job related education and jobs pertaining to their training, there will be less chances for them to get into trouble. They would like to make sure that they get steady income so that their financial needs are satisfied. After all peace between the communities is OK but there cannot be everlasting peace on empty stomachs. That’s why we are experimenting this way”.
For the first time somebody said hesitantly, “But Kulkarni saab, this is not the work of the police force, namely getting poorer people to get vocational education or helping them getting jobs etc. There are other govt departments for that. When you are so much overworked, how can you carry out such tasks?”
Kulkarni said, “Exactly”.
“This is not the work of the police force, as you have rightly said. But learning from the past experience, where we tried to establish peace between the hindus and muslims, we realised that peace cannot be established simply by means of friendship”.
“There must be some schemes by which people get the confidence to get education and jobs. That’s why this scheme has been planned. Here the police will only keep a watch on the communities to see that peace is sustained between them at all times and that there is no scope for any troubles between them”.
“The financial aspect of the plan will be looked after by the commercial enterprises. In a way this is a preventive maintenance scheme, meaning keeping a close watch on all the members of both the communities, the police will be in a position to thwart any trouble makers in the beginning itself”.
“When trouble makers from any community realise that the police is keeping a strict vigil at them, they would not indulge in any criminal activities”.
“So now I would like you to think over this scheme and try to talk to your friends in your own communities and try to spread the concept of establishing trust and confidence between both”.
“Start thinking about whom you would like to meet among your contacts first. Think about what kind of reaction they would express for this kind of a pilot plan. If you are reasonably sure that there will be a positive response from such people then only approach them, otherwise seek out some other people. But keep me informed from time to time. It needs to be worked out with a lot of patience, understanding and sympathy".
“Another point I would like to make here. Habib had told us that he was interested in Vijaya! Immediately we asked him to ask her also to join this scheme to interact with both the communities for making this plan a success. He talked to her a couple of times, but she was very scared about it and said that she was not interested in it at all”.
Terribly puzzled by this statement of Kulkarni, Shinde asked him, “But Kulkarni saab, you said that Habib was arrested on the day of the bomb blasts and he was in police custody. Vijaya went missing more or less at the same time. How then could he have talked to her?”
Kulkarni said, “Vijaya went missing 2 days after the bomb blasts if you remember the date. Please check the dates”.
Shinde’s family members had a brief consultation with each other on this piece of information before Shinde asked Kulkarni, “OK, even if we accept that as true, Vijaya never told us anything about it”.
Kulkarni said, “I don’t know about it, but I presume that since she was scared about it she might have felt that there was no point in telling you about it to you or anybody else”.
“Anyway, what do you say about the plan?” he asked them.
(To be continued)