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5 Things We Learn About The Delhi Police From The 2nd Season Of Delhi Crime

“Courage comes at a price,” for the officers, especially women, who go against the orders of their seniors, even as they are doing the 'right thing'.

The second season of Delhi Crime (2019-2022) delves into the internal functioning of the Delhi Police, much like the first season. However, while doing so, it brings out various problems faced by the Delhi Police on a daily basis.

Here are a few of them that Delhi Crime tries to emphasise upon:

The Delhi Police is extremely understaffed

The second season starts with a conversation between DCP Vartika Chaturvedi (played by Shefali Shah) and her husband about how the Delhi Police only has about 138 officers per lakh of population.

Even if this number is doubled, it is going to be impossible for a few hundreds to manage lakhs of individuals and bring down the crime rates of the national capital city.

The Delhi Police, like most Indians, tends to be discriminatory towards certain tribal groups

One of the most overlooked issues in our country is that of the discrimination faced by certain tribal communities that have had to migrate to cities like Delhi in large groups.

Delhi Crime 2 highlights how the individuals belonging to the Pardhi tribe are often scapegoated whenever a criminal case is registered in Delhi because of their past association with the Kachcha Baniyan Gangs – a criminal gang in Delhi that robbed houses and ruthlessly murdered the ones who tried to resist.

Even though the Kachcha Baniyan Gang hasn’t been active since late 1980s, the people of the Pardhi tribe continue to be labelled as “born criminals”. As explained in the series, the source of this generalisation can be traced back to the British Raj when the tribe was criminalised by the British and held in settlement jail till 1951 for almost four years after the country received its independence. Perhaps, the Indian mindset hasn’t been decolonised yet.

Gendered expectations from working women and the nearly impossible balancing act

Women officers find it more difficult to balance their work and personal life due to sexism they face at work and the gendered expectations their families have from them at home.

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Be it the protagonist of the series, Vartika Chaturvedi or another IPS officer, Neeti Singh (played by Rasika Dugal), a woman officer has to work ten times harder than male officers to balance their professional and personal lives.

This can be seen when Neeti Singh struggles with having to compromise at home and not being able to give her best at work because of her personal commitments, and the way they are often taken for granted by a husband or in-laws.

An example of the same is seen when the official vehicle provided to her by the government is not available to her when she needs it urgently, because her mother-in-law decides to use it to buy groceries for their house.

Another example is her being told by her husband that he is “ashamed of her” when she is unable to spend enough time at home and somehow seems to “challenge his being a man”. Her work hours are long, difficult, and often unexpected, and while her husband does support her, he also regresses into a whiny man child when she doesn’t “give him time” when she is also expected on duty.

DCP Vartika Chaturvedi too, is pressured with both, the responsibilities of a large number of heinous crimes committed in Delhi and her daughter’s academic performance while she pursues her studies as an international student in Canada.

In a nutshell, a woman who wishes to have a successful career without compromising on her family life is hardly ever supported – neither by her spouse nor by her colleagues. She must always choose, prioritise one over the other, and if she fails to satisfy everyone, all she faces is criticism and ridicule.

Shortage of funds for the police force, and its inevitable link to corruption

The shortage of funds within the Delhi Police makes the route of corruption attractive to officers who want to live the life.

As Delhi Crime rightly points out, the Delhi Police is not just understaffed, but even short on funds. This is brought out in the series when a retired police officer is requested to extend his support to the police in a criminal investigation because of his expertise. But, despite his obvious affluent lifestyle, too affluent for someone who retired from the position he had held, he refuses to help until he is paid his rightful retirement pension. Even once he is promised the same, he goes on to demand 15,000 rupees from all the people he has arrested for questioning and says he would let them go free if they pay him the amount.

Even though the series is partly fictional, this particular example makes it clear that it is extremely easy for police officers to turn towards corruption.

“Courage comes at a price,” for the officers, especially women, who go against the orders of their seniors

DCP Vartika Chaturvedi might be one of the most honest and bold fictional police officers, but her courage still comes at a price when she is told that she would be transferred to a more remote area from Delhi after she goes against the instructions given to her by her superiors – instructions that have come from an MP.

Would she have faced the same had she been a man? Probably yes. But, would it have been easier for her to refuse the orders given to her had she been a man? Probably yes, again.

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About the Author

Upasana Dandona

A dysgraphic writer who spends most of their time watching (and thinking about) Bollywood films. read more...

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