The role of Indian police

About 17 years ago a book on communal riots and Indian police was published in English, Hindi and Urdu and was well received in earnest circles. Its author was Vibhuti Narain Rai, a senior officer of Indian Police Services. After a long research of one year, he, in the light of ground realities and authentic information, brought to the notice of the nation the irresponsible behaviour of Indian police and its heinous role in riots. But in fact this was not a book rather a research document which he had put before the police establishment for serious consideration so that police behaviour might be reformed in its light. But the police system totally neglected it. Therefore, Mr. Rai had to get his precious and extraordinary research work published in book form. Renowned and active human rights activist Teesta Setalvad has mentioned it in her recent analysis (The Hindu, 20 February). The article was written in the context of the recent riots in Dhule (Maharashtra) which was in fact one-sided police action against Muslims. The scenes of this police barbarity were well captured in mobile cameras but the media did not pay any importance to them.

After publication of the interview
Thereafter Teesta Setalvad questioned the entire police structure and its system and said that she had done a long interview with Vibhuti Narain Rai in 1995 which was published in about 30 publications. In the interview, Mr. Rai, in the light of his experiences and observations, further highlighted the role of Indian police, according to which the rioters belonging to the majority community take the police as their protector and friend during the riots. Teesta has written that after the publication of Mr Rai’s book and her interview with him the government and the police department did not take notice of it; however responsible citizens and some senior security officers, including the founder and former head of Border Security Force KF Rustomji and DIG Padma Rosha, turned towards it. Expressing concern over this situation, he had emphasised that the police department should take stock of the serious issue of communalism and casteism and take immediate corrective measures otherwise this situation of communal conflict among the various sections of society will take a serious turn. In her article, Teesta has also severely criticised the priorities of TV channels.

It’s not about police alone
The question here is why after all is this character of the police of Indian State? Teesta has confined her analysis to this question. But the area of the question should be wider. Is there all well with other departments of the State? Now this question takes us to the formation of independent India. The situation relates to a mentality which was created before the independence. It was this mentality that created the situation for partition and all the responsibility of partition was thrown on the shoulders of Muslims. A part of the land with Muslim concentration areas was separated in the name of Pakistan. Then a well-thought-out unwritten policy was adopted for the Muslims opting to remain in Independent India. According to the declaration, though the Constitution of the land remains democratic and secular, in which all citizens hold equal status, there is respect for all religious entities; however the ground reality is quite different. A particular mentality was granted full independence and all facilities to create hatred against religious entities and prepare lots of biased government workers with the help of its private educational institutions, literature and organised groups. Today it is that mentality which is at work. The question is not about police establishment only; it is about the behaviour of the State. Therefore, people like Teesta Setalvad and Vibhuti Naraian Rai should concentrate on this very basic question.

04/03/13 khabar-O-Nazar by Parwaaz Rahmani, sehrozaDAWAT, translated by: Abu Yusuf

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