Short Essay on the Police Administration of Britishers in South India


Like the Revenue, the Police establishment also was a scourge that threatened the life of the peaceable and well disposed people all over the Madras Presidency; to thieves and rogues it posed no threat. As Saalfelt said, “The police establishment has become the bane and pest of society, the terror of the community and the origin of half the misery and discontent that exist among the subjects of Government. Corruption and bribery reign paramount throughout the establishment; violence, torture and cruelty are their chief instruments for detecting crime, implicating innocent or extorting money. Robberies are daily and nightly committed, and not infrequently with their connivance.

Certain suspi­cious characters are taken up and conveyed to some secluded spot far out of the reach of witnesses; every species of cruelty is exercised upon them; if guilty, the crime is invariably confessed and stolen property discovered; but a tempting bribe soon released them from custody. Should they persist in avowing their innocence, relief from suffering is promised by criminating some wealthy individual, and in the agony of despair he is pointed to as the receiver of stolen goods. In his turn he is compelled to part with his hard earned coin to avert the impending danger.

Even the party robbed does not escape the clutching grasp of the heartless peon and duffadar; he is threatened with being torn from his home, dragged to the cutcherry and detained there for days or weeks to the actual detriment of his trade or livelihood, unless he points out the supposed thieves. The dread of, or aversion to, the cutcherry is so great that the owner would sooner disavow the stolen article and disclaim all knowledge of the property, though his name be found written upon it in broad characters.

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