New Delhi: 3rd January 2008: It was Kiran Bedi’s first press conference after voluntarily retiring from the Indian Police Service, two years ahead of her superannuation. And I was excited to meet her.
On my way to the Press Club of India, where the press meet was planned, I kept thinking about Bedi’s illustrious career — the accomplishments & the controversies.
How could such a bold, fearless, powerful and confident officer surrender to the system! After all she had been a symbol of empowerment in India’s male-dominated society. Wasn’t she given the President’s Gallantry Award? Yes. She indeed is a brave woman, a capable lady officer. Then why did the history-making woman cop quit so tamely?
From manning Delhi’s unmanageable traffic signals to disciplining Asia’s largest Tihar prisons, Bedi had seen all… even the United Nations. She is also credited with many reforms. Who else could have introduced yoga and meditation at prisons? But, was she a much-pampered officer? Did she always get away, even after going public against the government, just because she was the first woman police officer?
How would she face journalists now? I entered the conference venue with this thought, while carrying a larger-than-life image of the supercop.
Inside the room, Bedi was talking about police. “Still, Police”!!! “Huh,” I cried out. Police in our country are always perceived inefficient or corrupt or both. But, she first chose police as her career, then quit at the fag end of her services and now she was again discussing police. What justice would she do to herself by still talking about police?
“They say crime has fallen,” Bedi was screaming before the journalists referring to manipulated crime graph across the country. “My God, Crime Has Not Fallen!!!” She was on her feet. But why was she blasting after voluntarily relinquishing her 36-year police career? The occasion was to launch an e-portal for complainants who are refused help by the police.
Bedi feels the portal safer india will act as a bridge between the police and complainants across the country. But, where would it lead? Well, she is hopeful. “This is going to be turning point in police reforms,” she promises.
Will she be able to achieve as a volunteer what she failed to deliver as an officer! But, did she fail? Yes, she failed. She surrendered to the system. She should not have opted out of the Indian Police Service.
I could read that throughout the press conference, the Magsaysay awardee was trying to hide her emotions.