International news: police forced to 'get physical' after extorting trucker bribes

| 7/17/2002

According to Ananova news service, police in the eastern India city of Calcutta have threatened to strike after three constables were ordered to do 100 sit-ups in public. The men were caught extorting bribes from truckdrivers for minor traffic violations.

The Police Association, which represents police officers, said the "harsh treatment" was "too humiliating" for the force. According to the Hindustan Times, deputy police commissioner Sanjoy Mukherjee frisked them, confiscated their money and issued suspension orders on the spot.

Mukherjee ordered the constables to do 100 sit-ups each by the side of a busy city road. Then, he used a megaphone to invite the public, including the passing truck and bus drivers, to watch them being punished.

Police officers, who are often poorly paid, commonly ask for bribes in exchange for tearing up tickets. "We are all trying to root out corruption, but what Mr. Mukherjee did was blatantly illegal and unconstitutional," said an association spokesman. "Unless he tenders an unconditional apology, we will go on a strike and also move the court against him."