There should be no doubt that our law enforcing agencies are demoralized and practically directionless. Public and media are always indifferent towards their good work and sacrifices. Death of few Police personnel at the hands of Naxalites or elsewhere turns out to be just another story for media to be aired, and for public to be seen and forgotten to watch next program over TV. Politicians thereafter have another issue for the blame game for few days till something else is available. Most often Security personnel remain soft targets for criticism, political interference, and adverse projection.
The sacrifice of CRPF personnel at Dantewada and many other elsewhere during past few years did not stir our conscience. UPA Government is still reluctant to bombard the Maoists. Had the casualties included some politicians, judges, media men and human right activists, then we would have declared an all out war against Maoists. Unfortunately that does not happen to them.
It is shame that many politicians who remain over protected all the time under security cover are suggesting hanging of Rajiv Killers, Afzal and Kasab to be converted to lesser punishment. They have no concern for the police personnel who lose their life in apprehending such criminals as long as their own life and position are guarded by policemen.
The agony of persons in uniform who discharge their duties to fight terrorism and influential criminals is not appreciated. In contrast, those who fight terrorism are hounded in courts at the whims of politicians. Aspersions are caste against them by worthless men like Digvijay Singh. Today secularist politicians are busy projecting notoriously criminal Sohrabuddin a victim of Police brutality. It has become a regular feature in J & K to let hooligans stone and tarnish image of security personnel to appease sectional elements. We are trying to paint disciplined forces as villains for certain known politicians to survive in darkness of coalition politics.
There are many security personnel who are more patriotic, duty conscious, honest and dedicated as compared to politicians, media men, and men in the legal profession. There might be few corrupt and inefficient persons in security out fits – but black sheep can be found more in other professions. Their number is much less in ratio to white collared professions, when compared to the circumstances under which security personnel have to work.
Police personnel are often blamed for using excessive force, causing custodial deaths, false encounters, and use of third degree methods. The real culprits to fan such stories are anti national or short-sighted media, human right activists and vested politicians. What is the credibility of Arundhati Roys and Teesta Seetalvads and their likes whose utterances and doings anti national and seditious when compared with security personnel.
Why do we forget that certain amount of force is necessary to apprehend criminals who are well-armed, motivated, violent, and operate against the norms of civilized society? Why do we lack common sense to contrast that criminals operate without restrictions or remorse while police personnel remain under restrictions from society, state, code of professional conduct, post-operative scrutiny by their superiors, public, media, courts and even wayside passer-byes. The constructive role played by the police always goes unnoticed and negative attributes get over exposed.
We do not realize that police personnel remain overworked due to security demands of uncouth politicians many of whom are at times in league with the criminals and terrorists. Police personnel remain over committed in guarding politicians and their families at the cost of risk to law-abiding citizens who pay for that.
The importance of police force cannot be undermined, when we are living under the cloud of terrorist and anti-social activities. Civilized society only thought about granting human rights, but if a person picked up arms to destroy the same civil society, then how and who would grant him human rights?
Police force is regarded as manifestation of authority of the state. Their primary role had been prevention and detection of crime, but scope of their responsibility continues to be enlarged while their powers are being continuously curtailed. Earlier, they had absolute powers to safe guard the state against conspirators. Now their powers have been capped under judicial controls but their role is expanded. With each passing day their functioning is being subjected to transparency, scrutiny and criticism by various segments of the society.
Maintenance of law and order depends upon the cooperation of citizens and the police force. Besides seeking protection for one’s own life and property, citizens are expected to report subversive activities and breaches of law and order, which, may come to their notice to the Police. How many of us do it is a different story. Did any one individually introspect this aspect?
Nothing can be more dimidiating than to prosecute a police person acting in aid of law against a law-less on the quantum of force used against the hardened criminal. Even third degree methods are time-tested techniques of crime detection since ages. Until crime-investigating agencies are provided effective alternate tools they perforce rely upon existing third degree methods in the interest of society. These aspects should not be over played to tarnish the image of police professionals.
Society cannot survive safely without enforcement of law by police. Its indispensability lies that police force works 24 hours in a day and all 365 days in every year. While we enjoy festivity at home, policemen are away from their families braving not only hazards of weather but also the lurking dangers in the environment around them.
Demoralized, corrupt, untrained police force lacking self-esteem is a liability on society. Its esteem values and efficiency have therefore, always to be supported and maintained by the society. The fear of being criticized later can one day motivate police personnel to shirk their duty. The day police personnel adopt that approach society will start appreciating their role – that we must take a warning before it actually happened.
We are already a soft target for the terrorists everywhere. It is high time we give Police personnel their due in the society!
Chand K Sharma