CHANDIGARH: Appalled to find a racist slur against people of African origin in probe papers submitted by Punjab Police in a narcotics case, the Punjab & Haryana high court has directed the state DGP to ensure that no official document henceforth contains any offensive reference to a
that will "shame" India's tradition of treating foreigners with dignity.
"This is a highly offensive word across the globe and no one has any business to use it, and much less the police. This brings shame to India and hatred for the
. The police appear to have assumed that every black is a drug peddler and should be treated as such. This is terrible thinking,"
Justice Rajiv Narain Raina
Directing the DGP to officially instruct the police force to refer to a person as a native of a particular country rather than by the colour of the skin, Justice Raina said racial abuse had no place in any investigation.
"We are, professedly, a tolerant sub-continent of ‘browns’ in all its shades, but more often than not, display a perverted and primitive mindset looking down on others without looking within ourselves. For many centuries we have been slaves. Freedom does not lend its wings to our countrymen to fly anywhere they wish and in any manner they like and abuse foreigners on the street, calling them ‘kalla'. To the contrary, freedom teaches love for human dignity and
for fellowmen," the judge said.
Last week, Bengal's education department suspended the headmistress and teacher-in-charge of a government-aided municipal school in Burdwan district for using an unauthorised pre-primary textbook that illustrates the word "ugly" with the image of a black person. Meant to introduce pre-primary children to the English alphabet, the textbook "Child Study" mentions two words starting with "U" – umbrella and ugly.
the Punjab Police
case, Justice Raina harked back to Mahatma Gandhi's political moorings in
that pioneered the apartheid movement. "Let us follow that inspiring precept and pay due respect to each other and other people," he said.
The high court's observations came while hearing a bail plea filed by one Amarjit Singh, arrested by Jalandhar police in a narcotics case. In the challan, the investigating officer used the 'N' word to refer to Singh's African co-accused.