Saturday, November 27, 2010

Vague pledges..Spineless leadership..illiterate Electorate..Weeping democracy

The nation pays tribute to the martyrs of 26/11, as our honourable Prime Minister pledges to redouble the efforts to bring the perpetrators of crime to justice. An attack of same magnitude stunned United States of America on September 11, 2001. Their President pledged the same. They poured billions into wars to buy security for the citizens, to bring the perpetrators to justice. The latter can be argued but it is established that they achieved the purpose. From that fateful day on till now, not even a single act of terrorism has taken place on the soil of United States of America against their citizen. The whole state machinery, works day in and day out to make sure that the American citizens are safe and secure even if that means pumping billions into wars, building infrastructure for policing and intelligence amidst global economic recession. Herein lies the question, why doesn’t our Government do something practical apart from vague pledges and assurances.

Maharashtra police held parade at the sites of terrorist strikes displaying anti-terror combat vehicles and weapons procured by state police and the Maharashtra Home Minister even went on record saying that they are in a position to tackle any terrorist activity. However Force One, the commando body of Maharashtra police on the lines of Israel’s Mossad, was not given responsibility to provide security to American President Mr Barack Obama and NSG were called in to do the job, clearly sending out signal that Force One is more of a concept still lacking execution. It doesn’t have the proper equipment and training infrastructure to be a world class anti-terrorist police body.

As we remember the brave sons of soil and the show of courage by them to neutralise the terrorist, we wonder that why we have not changed with time and need. Why hasn’t the structure of police and intelligence being transformed in decades. Why is it that as terrorist went on a killing spree across mumbai and we had to wait for NSG and Special forces to come from other states to encounter them. Why is it that the Police were not able to gun them down right at the onset and save precious lives. Are policemen not capable enough? That is not correct. Railway constable Jillu Yadav had no weapons at disposal when he confronted Kasab. He snatched a rifle from GRP man and fired at Kasab , yes a .303 rifle against a assault rifle. ASI Tukaram Omble overpowered Kasab with bare hands which proved fatal for the brave martyr. Only reason is that the police doesn’t get the training and the weapons to tackle such attacks. They don't have the intelligence to pre-empt such activities. An unfortunate side of the story is that even after 26/11, we refuse to change. The police set-up remains corrupt and under influence of politicians and bureaucrats.
Even in cases of maintaining law and order police has been found wanting. They are unable to tackle mobs and protests and every time paramilitary is asked to come in to restore normalcy. The recent mis-handling of protests in Kashmir lead to death of 113 civilians and the situation has escalated to a different sphere. On the grounds of human rights violation police also fails to save its face. State human rights commissions have thousands of cases of fake encounters, custodial torture and killings, aiding criminals etc. As per United Nations theory, which our planners follow so religiously, police population ratio has to be 225 per 100000 person, but in India its way too low at about 155-160, which is misleading as it is different for metros and other big cities. In Delhi its 1600 while as in some other states its as low as 25-30. Inspite of such presence, the crime against women in Delhi is on a high. An insight into this is that, most of the police is for the security of our MPs and VIPs unable to tackle issue related to crime, law and order. The picture looks bleak from every possible angle you want it see.

Many commissions have recommended drastic changes in policing. Better selection process, advanced training, improved infrastructure, insulation from the influence of politicians and many more things. Awareness among people as on how police functions also needs to be taken care of. Including some chapters in school text books on policing could be one way of achieving it. There is a need for democratic policing, police force which is modern, well trained, well equipped to tackle the modern terrorist warfare. It is high time that the government takes some concrete steps and restructures the whole police set-up, which gives a sense of security to the citizens of nation and sends out signal for the notorious elements to watch out. Vague pledges only buy votes, History beckons action.