View point: Kiran Bedi – policing the police, prisons, corruption

Dr Kiran Bedi
Dr Kiran Bedi

by Julia Suryakusuma, Jakarta | Opinion | Wed, September 09 2015, in The Jakarta Post

Is there such a thing as a good cop in Indonesia? Most of us Indonesians seem to doubt it.

If people experience a burglary, theft or other criminal case, they tend to think twice about reporting it to the police. They say they would end up getting into more trouble and losing more money.

This distrust of the police is deeply ingrained, and with good reason.

Indonesia is known to be one of the world’s most corrupt countries, ranking 107 out of 175 countries, according to Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index 2014. And the police are considered one of the most corrupt institutions in the land. The fact that they are notorious for human rights abuses doesn’t help to bolster their image much either.

How are the police in India? Not that different really. Ranking 85 on the TI index, India ranks better on the corruption index. But regarding the police, they’re just as bad as in Indonesia.

According to a 2009 Human Rights Watch Report entitled India: Overhaul Abusive, Failing Police System, the Indian police system is not only rife with human rights violations, it even encourages them. In 2015 an updated report didn’t document any changes. “Proposed police reforms have also languished even as police continue to commit human rights violations with impunity”.

So it’s truly amazing that in the bastion of masculinity that is the police force, in a notoriously patriarchal society like India, that the figure of Kiran Bedi could rise to the top and become the first female police officer, and only female head of police in India, between the years 1972-2007.

Who is Kiran Bedi?

On Aug. 26, I had the good fortune to meet her at an event, organized by the Britcham Professional Women’s Group in collaboration with IndoIndians ( Bedi gave a talk entitled: “If the Four ‘F’s’ — Fear, Failure, Forgetfulness and Lack of Faith — are overcome, any race can be won”.

Julia Suryakususma with Dr Kiran Bedi in Jakarta

Not the most pithy title, but her talk was inspiring nevertheless. It was drawn from amazing life experiences which she had forged through by her own willpower, determination, family support, good fortune and a burning desire to serve her country.

Read rest of the article at The Jakarta Post 

The writer is the author of Julia’s Jihad.