Cops demand “freebies” on beat

Residents accuse cops of demanding free services from local businesses, while the police say that businesses offer them freely “out of respect.”
Basu Raj, who runs a barber shop opposite the Kengeri police station, says he is forced to give cops free haircuts because they refuse to pay.
“I always ask them (the cops) for payment—why should I give free haircuts when the government pays them around 20,000 rupees a month?” he asks.
Policemen in the area eat at the local restaurants and hardly ever pay, according to students in Koramangala who witness the transactions.
“Policemen even eat fruits from fruit vendors on the streets and just go away without making payment,” said Tashi, a resident of Koramangala.
The police are aware of such practices. But they maintain that officers do not ask for the favors.
“It is not the policemen who eat and do not pay, but some restaurants who do not take money from the police officers out of respect for the police force,” said Harish Babu, subinspector at the Kengeri police station.
But Ugal Khan, a police officer in Koramangala, agrees that some police officers in Bangalore “misuse their power.”
None of the restaurants that the Observer approached in Koramangala complain about the local police. They decline to comment on the abuse of police power in the locality.
“The presence of child labour in the restaurants makes the owners keep quiet when policemen eat and go without making payment,” said a resident in Koramangala.

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