Since the Delhi rape case, I have attended a couple of coffee meeting with people from different backgrounds, put some hundreds of tweets on #MakeDelhiSafe. Amidst the series of incidents that took place on 16th Dec, one most striking thing that hit me was that the girl and her friend were lying on the road for more than a couple of minutes and the crowd around just stared, either not knowing what to do or not willing to take the necessary step. It’s a simple funda amongst us Indians “Do logo ki ladai mein hamesha teesra pista hai” (In a quarrel of two, the third one suffers) or in most cases we don’t want to engage in any matters relating to the police or law thinking “Why get into a hassle?”
Moving another step forward, sometimes we just don’t know what to do and how to take it up. So here’s a very basic compilations of things to do and keep in mind if you are witnessing a crime:
What should you do if you witness a crime?
If you are witnessing a crime, the first thing to do is to get out of harm’s way and hide yourself. You must then:
- Immediately call 100. If you know the phone numbers of your local police station call them as well and ask them to come immediately.
- Make a mental note of what the criminal or criminals look like and details of what they are wearing.
- Pay close attention to all the events that take place. What the criminals did, what they said and so on
- If the police do not come in time and the criminals have left, make sure not to touch anything. Important evidence may have been left behind which you may destroy by touching it
- If there is a victim who is hurt or in distress, call an ambulance and help as much as you can
- Once the police arrive, tell them in detail all that you witnessed and file your First Information Report (FIR)
- Make sure the police officer signs and stamps your FIR and gives you a copy free of cost
Do you have to go if the police ask you to come to the station?
If the police want to question you about a crime that you might be witness to or are suspected having a part in then, they must summon you to the police station in writing. If you are simply walking down the road or are at home, having committed no offence then the police cannot ask you to come with them without stating a solid reason and you are within your rights to refuse to go with them. Women or children below 15 can only be questioned by the police in their homes. They can never be summoned or forced to go to a police station.
I agree that that there are many systemic problems that might come in our way. But as ‘US’, ‘we’ need to simply know and try to do what is in our limits. Least we can do is let not a crime go unnoticed and make sure there is immediate help and reporting. Amongst all the multitude of things we need to do to make our cities safe, becoming ‘active citizens is essentially at the top-of-the-list.
PS: Thanks to Jaagore for this piece of information