What should be the requirement to become a Police?

What kind of Police do we all want- honest, educated, helping and polite, right? But when we think about Indian police, UP police for sure, the first thing we think about them is their cruelty, corruption, no sentiments for people and no politeness at all. I don’t know any person who would ever like to go to the Police station because of their such qualities. In fact nobody has any faith in them. There is no work done at any Police station without taking bribe. Even if someone wants to register a complaint they have to pay a bribe. I read so many articles in the news paper when media reports about how they do not even register the complaints for even serious crimes like rape or murder.

It happens all the time and everyone is very well aware of it but it has become so much part of the system that people expect for such kind of behavior by Police. The only thing UP Police is expert in is how to torture people and loot their money. I think the biggest reason behind it is bad governance and this is the reason why the condition of UP Police is getting worse and worse everyday. There are two political parties which have been ruling the state of Uttar Pradesh for long time. One of them is Bahujan Samaj Party and the other one is Samajwadi Party. Bahujan Samaj Party does the caste based politics all the time but policing is better during their time. They are good in controlling the criminals but no difference when it comes to control the Police.

Samajwadi Party is the worse political party ruling the state of UP in my lifetime. They do the politics of religion and caste both. During their times Muslims and Yadavs (a Hindu caste) can do anything they want. As soon as Samajwai Party comes in power they immediately put only Yadavs and Muslims on all of the higher rank jobs in the state does not matter whether they deserve it or not. They also recruit a lot of Police but they are also either Yadav or Muslims. They do all these things only to get attention of their vote bank which is enough to keep them in power. Police reform is a very big issue and everyone wants to see honest and helping police and I think it will be the biggest gift for us if anyone can make it possible.

But it seems like these political parties like Samajwadi Party want to make the situation worse. Its impossible to believe but the Chief Minsiter of Uttar Pradesh Mr. Akhilesh Yadav announced that there won’t be any written exams for Police recruitment in the state. He believes that only physical test along with the marks in tenth and twelfth class is enough. I was shocked to hear it. I believe that whatever Police does is because of political pressure and their training but still education is needed. And the situation becomes more horrible when a government like Samajwadi Party makes such announcement which is known for allowing cheating in the exams. The whole of nation knows how the percentage of students passing the tenth and twelfth grade exams increase dramatically as soon as they come in power.

In fact a lot of people from other states come to UP to pass tenth and twelfth grade exams during the Samajwadi Party rule because cheating happens openly and it is also very common practice that students won’t even participate in the exams, they just give some money to the school or the teachers and they will arrange someone to write the exam for them. One of my friends who was living in Mumbai literally came to Varanasi to pass tenth grade exams because he tried it three times but not succeed but now when he heard that Samajwadi Party is back in power, he came to UP and got his tenth grade certificate. In his case he went for the first two tests but then the teachers came to him saying that why he tortures his fingers and mind by writing the paper, they had another option of having someone else write his papers for a few hundred rupees.

He liked this idea, just gave some money to the teacher and was sitting at home watching TV and passed the exams. UP government wants to recruit Police on the basis of merit and I wonder what does merit mean if everyone is openly cheating the exams??? It scares me to think what will happen in future when we will have such uneducated Policemen? The situation is already horrible but future seems more dark. I still remember when I was talking with a friend who is a Policeman in The Netherlands and he said that the general impression of Police in his country is that Police is friend but here they are already our enemy. I think that an educated enemy is thousand time better than an uneducated enemy and its very sad UP government wants to create a whole force of uneducated enemies to torture us.

I think if they want to solve the problems then they should better end the system of interviews because that is the place where major corruption starts. The people wanting a job in the Police have to bribe the officers taking their interview and if they get a job after bribing a huge amount of money then they will be needing it back as well. And who will repay it? We the regular people ! I don’t have any hope from people like Mayawati, Mulayam Singh Yadav or Akhilesh Yadav who have been ruling the state for long time. The only way to get some relief is by kicking them off the power completely but it seems very very hard because of the vote bank politics. Muslims and Yadav will still vote for Samajwaadi Party and all people coming from lower castes will still vote for Mayawati does not matter if they can bring any change in their lives. But I never loose hope, I still hope that people of UP will not forget corrupt and communal governance of Samajwaadi Party and will throw them out of power in the next elections of 2017. Jai Hind.

My car accident, Police and Insurance company

I had bought a car in September 2014 for my business purpose which had an accident in May 2015. The car was going to airport, with guests in it, when an over speed bus hit it from the back. The street from Varanasi city to the airport is a two lane highway and an over speed bus which was trying to take over the car hit it and my car came right in the middle of the street and a motorbike coming from the front hit the car from front. The accident was so serious that the lady sitting on the back seat of the motorbike, which hit the from front, hit the front windshield of the car from her head and broke it. She did not have any serious injury but the person driving the bike had serious injuries and he was admitted in a hospital.

The driver who was driving the bus left the bus on the street and ran away from there so I never got to see him. The bus did not only hit my car but it also ran over another motorbike. The motorbike driver somehow survived, actually he reached right under the bus so did not get any injury but his bike was damaged completely. The trunk and hood of my car were completely damaged. The accident also caused some mechanical problems in the car. Luckily nothing happened to the car driver and guests sitting in my car. I was at home when the accident happened and the driver, Mr. Sanjay, informed me about it. The accident spot was around 20 KMs from home so it took me almost an hour to reach there. During this time the Police came and sent my car and the bus to the Police station.

After arriving at the Police station I first asked Mr. Sanjay and he said no one other than the bike driver. I tried to get some information about him but it was not easy. Finally I went to see my car and suddenly I noticed that LED screen for rear view was missing. I asked Mr. Sanjay what happened to it and he was also surprised to see that it was not there. I went to see the back camera and it was also missing. Now I checked my car and noticed that all of the external car accessories (some wires, mobile charger etc) + a few CDs, jump drives, my glasses and a few documents were also missing. While we were just talking about it suddenly a person standing next to us said that he had seen Police taking everything out of my car and carrying it to the Police station. This gentleman had a shop next to the Police station.

Now I was kind of relaxed that at least all of those stuffs were with Police. After inspecting the car we went to the Police station and asked for all of those stuffs. Two Police officers present there said that they did not know anything about it. I went back to that person who had seen Police taking everything and asked him it again. He said that he was cent percent sure that a Policeman took everything and kept it inside the Police station. He in fact knew the name of that Police officer as well. He said that the Policeman who took everything was Mr. Sonkar. Now we returned back to the Police station and asked them where was Mr. Sonkar and they sent me to a small house which was right behind the Police station.

We went there, knocked the door and a person wearing shorts opened the door. I asked him if Mr. Sonkar was there and he said that he himself was Mr. Sonkar. I asked him about my car accessories and he said that he had kept them in safe at the Police station. He sent me back to the Police station and asked me to take help of other Policemen there. I returned back to the Police station and told them that Mr. Sonkar has kept everything in a safe. They opened all of the safes in front of me but found nothing. Now they sent me back to Mr. Sonkar. We again knocked the door and this time Mr. Sonkar got angry on us. He was angry because he was taking a nap, while on duty, and we were disturbing him.

We requested him to give our stuffs back and he said that he did not know anything about it and locked the door again. Now we were waiting for him at the Police station, he showed up again after two hours but his response was still the same. He said that he had kept everything in the safe and if it is not there then it means somebody stole it and he was not responsible for it. It made me really angry but I could not do anything. I was talking about it with another Police officer there and after a while he also confirmed that Mr. Sonkar had taken everything to his room. I was angry and sad both and told that Policeman that I was relaxed when I first heard that all the accessories were with the Police because I knew that everything was in safe hands and then the response of that Police officer literally shocked me. He laughed and said that who told you that Police is not thief.

I did not know what to say so I just gave up. During this time I also called the New India Assurance insurance office in Delhi and gave me contact number of someone Mr. Singh in Varanasi. I called Mr. Singh and he said that first try to take the car Police and then call him. I also asked him if I should register an FIR with the Police and he said that if we register an FIR then the process will be longer to better settle everything on mutual consent. He said that if the case is registered then there will be hearings for months at the court and I won’t get my car back until the hearing is finished. So I told the Police station that I did not want an FIR to be lodged but they said that they won’t give my car back until and unless they have not heard that the bike driver admitted in the hospital is safe.

Their excuse was that in case if something happens to that driver or if they register a case from their side then the case has to be registered. So now the only option I has was to wait. Finally after a week I got a phone call from the owner of the bus who said that the bike driver was safe and he also wanted to settle the case without registering any complaint. I agreed on meeting with him at the Police station the next day. When I arrived at the Police station he was already present there, there was someone from the family of that bike driver as well and we all wrote a letter to Police saying that we did not want the case to be registered and finally I got me my car back.

Now I called Mr. Singh, Insurance officer, again and he said that just bring your car to any authorized Maruti dealer and leave it there. They will repair it and we will pay for it. The shop where I had bought the car was AGR Automobiles in Varanasi so I just brought my car there. They took some pics of my car, did some documentation work and said that it will take them around 10 days to repair my car which sounded absolutely fine. They also said that they did not have all the parts available so it might take 3-4 days more. Now I started going everyday to the service center and everyday they had a new excuse but one thing was common everyday that they have already ordered the parts but they don’t have it yet and they are already overworking.

It took them almost two months just to get the parts and more than three weeks to repair my car. It was very frustrating but there was not even a place where I could complaint about it. The car was ready and it was the time to settle the bill. I was supposed to pay only a processing fee of Rs. 1,000 but I was given a bill of Rs. 35,000. When I asked them why the bill was so big they said that the insurance does not cover any fiber parts, scratches and some other smaller parts but still the bill seemed so big. I also notice that the insurance company was paying only Rs. 31,000 which did not seem fair at all. I bought the insurance but insurance company was paying less than the customer??

They asked me to contact Insurance company and their excuse was such a nonsense. They said that in case of accidents spot photography (photography of the car at the place where accident happened) is necessary which was not done hence I have to pay more. I asked them why did not they do spot photography and they said because I did not ask them to do so. I was like what the fuck is this, how come you can expect me to tell you your job? It was your job and you should have done it but they just did not want to hear anything. I called Mr. Singh and he was also telling the same thing. I reminded him about what he had said when I spoke with him the first time but he completely denied it, in fact he started shouting at me.

I told him that I will take the case to consumer forum court and he said do whatever you want but we won’t pay even a single ruppe more than the amount already sanctioned. It clearly seemed like he had already done such thing several times and he had no threat of consumer court at all. I had already lost a lot of business and money due to this car accident and I did not have any money left but now I had two options- either I spend more money on going to the court, wait for endless time for judgement to come (India has most number of legal cases pending in the whole world) or pay the money he wanted and start my business again. I contacted many people from different fields such as insurance, travel agents, lawyers and all of them told me that these things happen all the time, there was nothing new what happened with me.

I thought a lot and again surrender before the corrupt Police, government and judiciary. I borrowed some money from my friends and family and paid the amount they wanted so that at least my living starts. This whole experience was so horrible that I changed that insurance company and still think what kind of justice is there or if it is really possible for a normal person like me to get justice? I know that corruption is everywhere in India but UP and Bihar always tops the list. Police should be more responsible than government because they are the ones whom people like me deal with but it is more than 100% corrupt in UP and it becomes worse as soon as Samajwadi Party comes in power. Police stole all my car accessories, Maruti took almost three months to repair my car and Insurance company did not pay…and still I can’t think of any place where I can complaint about them.

After going through this experience it reminded me of a very famous Bollywood movie dialogue when Nana Patekar says सौ में से अस्सी बेईमान, फिर भी मेरा देश महान (80 out of 100 are cheaters but still my country is great) ! I have a hope from the central government but I know that it won’t be easy for them to finish this corruption soon because the political parties which have ruled India destroyed this country so much that corruption has become part of the system and depending on different states sometimes there is some help and sometimes no help at all. Jai Hind.

A Journalist burnt alive, is there any freedom of expression in Uttar Pradesh?

What could be worse punishment for writing against a minister in Uttar Pradesh? Must not be anything because constitution of India gives us freedom of speech and expression but Uttar Pradesh Minister of Dairy Development Mr. Rammutri Verma hated it so much that he ordered the local police to set Mr. Jagendra Singh, a journalist from Saharanpur, on fire and kill him only because he wrote against him on his personal facebook page. Policing, bad governance and vandalism of ministers and ruling party members is nothing new for Uttar Pradesh but situation becomes worse as soon as Samajwadi Party comes in power. The whole party is full of bullshit, the only thing they do is caste and religion based politics to stay in power somehow.

The chief minister of Uttar Pradesh Mr. Akhilesh Yadav distributes free laptops but his own website is still under construction even after his three years in office. His father and chairperson of Samajwadi Party Mr. Mulayam Singh Yadav claims that women are super safe under his party’s rule but when asked about rapes he says that “boys are boys and they make mistakes sometimes” . These are the people who are ruling the state so I never hope for anything else from them but situation seems really horrible when we hear about incidents like Mr. Singh’s murder and it becomes more horrible when such criminals are not even arrested. What was his fault? Media was pressurizing the Samajwadi Party to take action against the minister but they wanted to prove it as a suicide whereas Mr. Singh’s statement was recorded on camera while he was dying in this hospital. Here is his statement-

He clearly says in the video that Police came and they first started to beat him asking why does he write against the Minister Verma and finally burnt him up. Even after this statement the Samajwadi Party never admitted that their Minister and Police was involved in this murder. In fact his son also explained the whole thing on TV, his son also said that now he was getting threats from the Minister, they were also offering him money but the administration did not take any action against Minister Verma, they did not even register any Police complaint against him. Finally they just suspended two Policemen and that’s all. I know that people of Uttar Pradesh have made a huge mistake by choosing such criminals to run the state but I do have a hope that they will take revenge of all the sins Samajwadis have been doing in 2017 when we have our next elections. Jai Hind.

Police in Varanasi

Corruption is a very big issue in India nowadays and everyone is talking about it. Even we saw the result in Delhi state assembly elections how Aam Aadmi Party changed the government only on the issue of corruption. I was also very  excited after seeing the result of Delhi elections but sometimes such things happen which make me feel like there is just no way to kill corruption in this country. It was a friend’s wedding last week in Varanasi and I went to attend it. After the wedding was finished, all of my friends returned back home but one of them parked his motorbike right in front of his home on the main street which is very usual thing for a city like Varanasi where there is no parking space available anywhere.

It was 2.30 AM and I got a call on my mobile from the same friend saying that his bike was missing. He had called me seeking help to find that bike. We went together on the street asking people if someone saw our bike and a person told us that he had seen two policemen taking our bike. We went to the nearest police station and the police officer present there said that the bike was found unattended hence it is sent to big police station which was about a kilometer away from my place. Now we went to the big police station and found everyone asleep other than one person who was standing by the entrance.

We asked him about our bike and he confirmed that our bike was there but we needed to talk with the officer. We went to the officer and found him sleeping on his chair. We were trying to wake him up but he was in super sound sleep. Finally he woke up after our several attempts. We explained him our situation and he said that we would have to go to the court the next day, pay a fine of Rs. 10,000 and only then we will get our bike. We knew it very well that he was telling a lie. We requested him so much to give us our bike back and he finally agreed on doing so after talking with the policemen who had brought our bike from the street. He asked us to go on the street looking for those policemen.

We had no idea where to find him. We requested him to kindly confirm their location by talking with them on phone but the officer just didn’t want to help us. He always felt more interested in his sleep. Anyways, we decided to go back to the same location and luckily found those police guys. We explained them our situation and they were easy. They asked us to go back to the police station and have the officer talk with them. Now we went back to the police station and again found the officer sleeping. It was a serious pain to wake him up but the mission was successful, we were able to wake him up. Now he opened a register, looked at a few pages and found he page where he had written the bike number.

Now he asked for the bike registration paper which we did not have. The papers were with the friend who owned the bike. We tried calling him but he did not respond. We went to his home, woke him up and brought him to the police station with all the papers and asked us to wait. It was crazy to see that right in front of our eyes, he closed the register and again felt asleep asking us to wait. We just did not know what to do now. Now I laughed in anger and we started talking with each other like this is our great India, this is the system…things like that. The awake policemen who was listening to us told us that- now you are laughing too much but imagine what would have happened if a thief had stolen your bike.

I just did not know what to tell him but I told him that we are laughing only because our bike is secured with the police. Anyways, after waiting for 15-20 minutes we asked the awaken police to wake up the sleeping policeman, hahaha. Finally the officer woke up, again looked at the documents and now asked for Rs. 500. We all started looking at each other and asked him why he needed Rs. 500. As we asked this question to him, he got upset, closed the register and again went asleep by asking us to go to the court the next day. We knew it very well that if we go to the court then we will have to bribe to maybe 10 people because everything is super corrupt at the courts also.

It was already 4 AM and we had no hope other than bribing him. We finally gave him Rs. 500 and got our bike back. But when I think about the behavior of that police guy, it makes me feel like our police is formed to torture us and nothing else. The policeman had no interest in helping us, he was always trying to make the situation more complicated. He was very rude, corrupt, fat, lazy, sleepy and a bigger thief than regular thieves. And I have never ever met any policeman who was better than him. I have also not ever met any person who said that he ever found a helping policeman. I think it is definitely a need of the time to dismiss entire police system and bring new fresh people with a different training.

I have also heard that our police is trained in the same way as it was trained during the British Raj time. The police was trained to fight against locals those days and they are trained the same way even today also. Our political system never had any free time to make police system better because they are also involved in looting the country. I am sure that this problem could be solved by bringing new police act and using more technology but I don’t see any hope especially for my state of Uttar Pradesh where governments come in power by doing caste and religion based politics. I have always believed that Indian police is somehow responsible for each and every problem we have in this country and if things do not change soon then I can grantee that the dream of India of becoming super power we stay only a dream forever.

Passport office in Varanasi

Government has been trying to make the passport application process easier and they opened a passport office in Varanasi hoping that it will solve a lot of problems. I got my passport two years ago and I still remember that I had to wait for 11 months after applying for it. When I heard that we have got a passport office in Varanasi, I was so happy because earlier there was only one passport office for whole Poorvanchal region of UP state which was in Lucknow. I got to visit this office with my friend who wanted to apply for a fresh passport. The building looked new and organized and definitely it had all the unnecessary formalities which we usually find at Indian offices.

They did not even allow carrying any bags inside, no camera, helmet..The office looked hi-tech and full with young employees. Later I learnt that first step document verification and other inquiries are done by Tata Consultancy which was very good because private companies always work better than government. We did some inquiry about the process of applying the passport and asked for the form. They told us that there is no system of filling up the forms manually exists anymore and now everything is done online. You apply for the passport online by filling up the form and booking an appointment on their new website.

You the just supposed to bring all the documents on the appointment date and go for the interview. They have a website with the name Passport Seva Porta with all the information available on it. This new system sounded beautiful but I don’t really think that this is a good system for whole India, especially my region of Poorvanchal where thousands of villages still don’t have electricity, just forget about having computers or Internet. There are so many places where they have got computers but there is no Internet or if there is Internet then people just don’t know how to use.

And in any case the website is in English which is a huge problem for a lot of people. I was discussing about this issue with a few people and they told me that the people who don’t even have electricity or the ones who do not speak English or don’t know how to use Internet won’t ever need passport. But the fact is that there are thousands of uneducated but skilled laborers from Poorvanchal who go to Arab countries to work every year. If fact when I think about the people I saw at the passport office, it seems like most of them wanted to go to Arab countries to work and they were having huge problems with applying for passport online.

All of them were having some kind of problem. The website says that you need to bring certain kinds of residential proofs, identity proofs and other documents but the website doesn’t say that they don’t only need the original documents but they need a print out of the same document from the concerned government office website. When I had applied for the passport only my PAN Card was enough but now they want the original PAN card, a xerox of it with the print out of information available on Income Tax Department ‘s website about my PAN card. The same thing was there with all other documents.

Now they don’t entertain any document which has no record available online. For example driving license is not accepted anymore. All these formalities sounded like a huge problem even for a person like me who uses Internet all the time. I was thinking about all those people who had never used computers before. At the same time I met a gentleman who needed an urgent passport for his wife. He was working abroad and wanted to bring his wife also with him. He had his ticket booked after 15 days or something. Government promises to provide urgent passport within a week by charging some extra money.

He booked the appointment online and his appointment was issued for Varanasi office. He showed up at Varanasi office and they told him that Varanasi office is not authorized to take applications for urgent passport and he needed to go to Lucknow only which is like 10 hours by train from Varanasi. He went to Lucknow the same evening where he was told that since his appointment was issued for Varanasi office he needed to go there. He again came back to Varanasi office when I met with him. And again the same story. The people at the Varanasi office were saying that they were not authorized to take applications for urgent passport.

Now this guy was so angry, he was asking if they are not authorized to take the application for urgent passport then why do they issue the appointment and no one had any answer. They were kept saying that they could not help him and he needed to go to Lucknow only. Now this guy wanted to talk with some big officer and they were kept asking him to wait. He passed more than an hour waiting for some response and finally they said that no one would meet with him and he can do whatever he wanted. I was kind of scared after looking at all these conditions and was not sure whether one should apply the passport at the office or go to some agent.

I started asking to my friends if they knew some reliable passport agent and they told me about a person named Rehan Bhai who has got his office in front Diamond Hotel, Bhelupur. I went to him and he seemed thousand time more helping than anyone working at the passport office. He charged me only Rs. 1000 as his service fee but he offered me a lot in exchange of it. At first my friend did not have to fill up the form or anything. He informed us about the documents which were accepted nowadays by the passport office. We just provided him all the documents and he took care of the rest. He booked the appointment as well. He went online and printed the online records of his documents, booked the appointment, prepared all the documents in order, kept them in a file and handed it over to us. Now we just needed to go to the office on appointment date.

It hardly took us 2 hours to complete everything and yes, he promised that he will us the passport within two months because he had some connections with the officers working at the passport office. My friend reached to the office on the appointment date then everything was very professional. All the problems that we had to face were in the beginning stage. At the office he was sent to a desk where people were sitting with their computers. All the computers had two screen- one facing to the computer operator and other one facing to the applicant so that applicant could also see what information was filled in.

They asked my friend after filling each page to confirm if all the spellings and other information was right which was a very good system because in the past so many people had problems with the name or address printed wrongly on the passport  and with such system I don’t really think that it will happen any more. After this he had to meet with three different government officers who verified the original documents. It was really funny that one of the recognized that we were taking help of Rehan Bhai only by looking at the file. I asked Rehan Bhai about it and he told me that he writes some secret code somewhere and that is why the officer was able to recognize it.

Anyways, all the formalities were done. My friend hardly spent 30 minutes inside the office which was very impressive for me because I still remember the time when I had applied for my passport. But the most important thing is that we saved all the time and everything was so smooth for us only because we were taking help of Rehan Bhai. It would have not been possible to get the work done that easily without his help. Finally my friend received his passport also only within 2 months But I still feel sorry for all the those people who were at the office facing all the problems. Government of India has always been crazy and I definitely have no hope from them but I was not hoping for them to be this stupid of ending the entire system of filling up the forms manually. I think they should keep the both systems alive and have a help desk to fill up the forms for uneducated people.

I would like to share mobile no. of Mr. Rehan Bhai so that if someone looking for an agent or information regarding passport office in Varanasi, reads my post may contact him directly. His mobile no. is- 9415291050. He has an assistant also named Deepu whose mobile no is- 9336633322. Feel free to contact them as I already have their permission. I hope this post will help people wanting information about getting their passport without any hassle. Please don’t think that I am advertising for Rehan Bhai, his services were really awesome.

Impact of my CJ report

Sack is replaced with a metal box

I am very happy and proud today that government took my citizen report seriously and took some action against the corrupt government employees. Today I visited Sarnath to make a followup report and I was really shocked to see the change. A lot of my colleagues had already told me about the change in system at Sarnath but I was really not expecting for that huge change. The first change that I noticed is that staffs at the ticket counter were different. Actually the main guy who was involved in the scam was transferred first and later suspended (maybe, not sure yet).

new tickets with bar code and unique number

I bought the ticket as I entered in the monument I saw second change. The ticket looked different. This new ticket had a bar code and a unique number. The third change was that the ticket checker was different. He took my ticket, teared off into two parts, kept one part with himself and returned one part back to me. Fourth change was that my camera was checked whether it was a still photography camera or a video camera. Actually there is a charge of Rs. 25 for filming and they just wanted to make sure that I was not going to film anything without paying the fee.

tickets were teard off

Fifth change was that now there was a metal box instead of a sack to collect the ticket and this metal box was locked which means once the tickets go inside no one can take them and resell them. I went inside for a walk and again noticed changes. Now there were more security guards really working. They were walking continuously, stopping people from walking over the ruins, helping people and they all looked very active. After walking for an hour and making the report I just went near to the entrance gate and sat there for a while to see the affect of my report.

new ticket checker

I saw that each and every ticket was checked, teared off and was kept in the box. I saw another change of stopping people from bringing any eatable items inside so that people do not throw the waste and monument stays clean. I had also noticed monument was a lot cleaner than it used to be. Finally I wanted to photograph the new employee and I did not know how to ask him for it. I made a plan that I asked my friend to stop me once I reach near the exit and get photographed. This way we wanted to pretend that I was getting photographed but in reality we wanted to photograph the new employee.

shaked hand happily cause he did not know that I was the who exposed the curroption

We did the same, as I reached near to the entrance gate, Babu called me and said that I should get photographed in front of the entrance also. I stopped there and was pretending to be photographed and suddenly the ticket checker called me and did exactly what I wanted. He asked me to come close to him and get photographed together. He did not know that I was responsible for all the change. He did not know that he was transferred to Varanasi only because of me. He did not know that he could not make any illegal money by reselling the tickets because of me. hahahaha.

I was a little bit nervous about they identifying me but nobody could identify me as all of the staffs were new. I had really great time today and I was so so happy and proud to see the change. CNN IBN again showed my report.

Scam in ticketing at Sarnath exposed

Sarnath

CNN IBN contacted me a few weeks ago asking about corruption related stories from Varanasi. They said that they have a show called citizen journalist in which the people themselves become the journalist and expose the crime. I already knew about this program as it is very popular in India and decided to give them some stories. Actually they had contacted me after reading my blog so they had already read a few corruption stories that I had written on my blog. I had also been noticing corruption on ever level just like another Indian citizen and now I had a platform to talk about it.

excavation site

Anyways, I gave them total of four stories- one about corruption in MNREGA, corruption in drinking water supply system in Varanasi, corruption in sewage treatment plants, encroachment over old and sacred ponds of Varanasi and scam in ticketing at Sarnath. They asked me to find someone who was personally affected by these corruptions and would like to come on camera and talk about it. I contacted Lok Samiti to find someone who had faced any kind of corruption in MNREGA. I knew about a social worker named Shanti Lal Jain who has worked a lot on Ganga and contacted him to talk about corruption in sewage treatment plants.

Stupa at Sarnath

I had recently read a magazine which talked about a retired engineer who used his right to information act to ask government about the present condition of ponds in Varanasi and High Court of Uttar Pradesh asking Varanasi city administration to restore all the ponds that were illegally captured after 1957. I contacted this gentleman and he also agreed on telling the story to CNN IBN. Now it was turn of scam in ticketing at Sarnath which I had personally noticed several times, actually every time I went to Sarnath ever since I got my tourist guide license.

entrance gate of the site

The scam in Sarnath was that the ticket collectors at the entrance of the excavation site would keep the whole ticket with themselves and resell it. Whereas by law they are supposed to tear off the ticket into two parts, keep one part with themselves and give one part back to the tourists. This scam was going on in Sarnath with the support of government employees and tourist guides as well. If tourist guides support them then they also get a cut. I was also offered the same service several times but I never supported them as I always believe in this Hindi saying- खाना है तो हांथी का लीद खाओ, गधे का नहीं (if you want to eat the shit then eat the shit of an elephant better than the shit of a donkey :))

filming of the show

The area of my work is full of such opportunities where I can get commission all the time when I feel better asking for money rather than bringing my guests to shop so that I get some money. Anyways, I had always thought to do something about stopping this corruption and now I had a chance. But I was a little bit worried about about my safety. I called my brother who is also an Italian interpreter and works in tourism industry to have his advice and he was like go and fuck those people.

explaning the corruption

So I agreed to work on this story with CNN IBN. In order to prepare for the story CNN IBN asked me collect some evidence of the corruption. I went to Sarnath with my friend Babu and we filmed the ticket collector taking the tickets and keeping them direct in a sack. Finally the crew arrived in Varanasi and at first they worked on other stories. All of the stories were successful and affective. The woman who had faced corruption in the MNREGA got her salary and Varanasi administration started working on the ponds.

volunteer Erica

I needed a few foreign volunteers to act like my guests. I advertised on couchsurfing and a few people wrote me also but finally I ended up choosing a British couple staying at my guesthouse. We went together to Sarnath on the filming day and first they filmed me working, talking with people, doing things… Finally they went close to the entrance and sat about 30-40 miters away and filmed people coming inside, handing over the ticket to the ticket collector and ticket collector keeping the whole ticket in the sack.

the ticket collector at the gate

After they had enough evidence we went for lunch. I was not enjoying lunch at all as I was really tense about what was going to happen next. I was mostly worried about ASI taking some action against me. They could easily cancel my license by saying that I was found scratching the monument or something. I knew that the local officers would not be happy with myself after exposing the crime. Finally lunch was finished and I was asked to come on camera and explain the crime by standing right next to the entrance gate.

very tense moment

As the big camera appeared and I was holding the mic, so many people came to us. I was surrounded by at least 50 people who were trying to understand what I was talking about. Luckily the show was in English hence not many people understood what I talking about. At first they asked me to explain the corruption and then we bought a ticket and gave it to one of the volunteers and asked her to go inside, give the ticket to the ticket collector and see what happens.

filming

Obviously the ticket collector took the ticket and kept it right away in the sack and this was the moment when we entered in with the camera. As the ticket collector saw us he immediately teared off the ticket, went to our volunteer to return half portion of the ticket. We asked him why did not he tear off the ticket right away and then ran away from there. Now there was no government employee at the entrance so we checked the sack and found more than 500 fresh tickets which were all going to resold.

Babu, Erica, Chitra and I

We were filming all this and suddenly one government employee who was posted at the ticket counter came. We asked him how come all these tickets were not teared off and he had this really funny excuse that all the Sri Lankan tourists who come to Sarnath just throw the tickets on the street so they collect it and finally tear them off in the evening time after the monument is closed which was completely false because I had personally seen them taking the tickets out of sack and bringing them back to the ticket counter so that they could resell it.

the officer in charge's office

After he could not answer us, he asked us to come inside his office where he had this another funny excuse that the young couples who come to Sarnath everyday throw the tickets on the street because they do not want to be caught at home that they went to Sarnath. I was kind of laughing after hearing all these funny excuses. We came back to the entrance gate to talk with a few visitors and suddenly this lady showed up asking what was going on. She asked us to ask her questions as she was also an employee of ASI who was posted at the museum.

We asked her if she was aware of the scam and she was like yes, I have seen it hundreds of times. We were shocked but it was really good that she admitted it. She also said that tickets are resold and each and every government employee working at the excavation site is involved. Finally we went to the officer in-charge of Sarnath but he also ran away as he saw us. Story was completed and I was feeling so proud to have done it. I was really happy with the public support.

When we were filming at the entrance gate, we were surrounded by 100s of people who shouting fuck these corrupt people, don’t leave them…I think this support gave me real power and energy that I was able to expose the crime. The next morning all of the news papers reported this news but none of them talked about me or CNN IBN. Although they said that the officer in-charge of Sarnath, who had ran away after seeing us, said that he was not aware of such corruption and would take action against the people involved in it.

I know it very well that he was also part of the corruption and had intentionally given this news to media so that people think that he did not know about this corruption. I asked CNN IBN to contact the regional office of ASI in Patna and head office in New Delhi and ask them to take some action. I hope that ASI will take some action and now I also feel much secured because of that lady officer of ASI who had admitted that this corruption of reselling of tickets was going on in Sarnath. Here is the link of the show on CNN IBN website-

http://cj.ibnlive.in.com/fullvideo/cnnibn/193435