In the past couple of decades, the kind of threats a nation faces have changed a lot. Earlier, a country has to defend itself from hostile neigbours at borders. But now, it has to not only ensure border security but also make sure there is no insurgency and spy networks operating within its territory. In addition to these, the nation has to safe guard itself from Cyber attacks, like the recent hacking of CBI website and; and uncover some operatives with in the territory whose modus operandi is to masquerade their acts as if they are performed by outside forces. Add Naxalism to the above mix, now more than 50 years old, and one gets the security situation of present India.
In such a scenario, one question comes to mind almost instantaneously: Why does Indian Government not make Police more Empowered? or Why does the Indian Government not reform, modernize and equip the Indian police?
This is a logical question to ask.
As in addition to the facts shared at the beginning; India’s more than a billion population and calamity prone nature (floods, drought, landslides etc.) also demands a more personnel and more empowered, equipped Police.
Arguments we Hear: one of the most common argument we hear from the politicians who are not in power is “Government doesn’t want to empower Police for its own vested iinterest.”. To put more light on the ‘vested interest’; the said vested interest is simply this– As police comes under Ministry of Home Affairs, hence empowering Police in actual sense can have a backlash on the Government; who tries to keep Police in its fist.
The argument is not wrong. In essence it’s the reality.
Another argument, that commonly comes out of commoners like us, is ‘Empowering police will make it more atrocious towards us, the common citizens.’
The argument is not wrong either; when seen from the perspective– Indian Police is made to perform at present.
But Both the arguments are partially true– based on observation rather than facts and action; and take a pessimistic view on things, that matter a lot.
I have reasons to say so: The reasoning will try to adress both the arguments together. If we suppose that modernising, empowering and reforming police force will hand it so much power that it’ll subordinate the Government and become more atrocious to common citizens; then we are asserting that modernizing, empowering and reforming a Force, increases the liklihood of it becoming attrocious to commoners and uncontrollable for Government. Now if that is what we think is true. Then how can we justify the presence of Armed Forces that is far more empowered and equipped than Indian police; in civilian areas of Manipur(north East) and Jammu & Kashmir, for decades now.
For the sake of Nation Security? … OK that is a valid reason. But can one rule out the atrocity and a Force acting on its will, viewpoint in the scenario.
Now let I come to the other reason that I put forward for the need for an empowered police in all respects– that’s mobilizing rescue for 100 billion plus citizens.
In the past five years, we have seen countless marathon live coverages on our satellite news channels about Indian Armed forces mobilizing and helping people in situations that ranged from dropping food packets in flood affected areas to taking out a four year old from a bore-well in some village.
Now the common blueprint electronic media follows while reporting such incidents is ‘Shower Praises for Army and shower criticism for the Police’. Common punch line remains “Police was present as mere spectators”.
Now there’s no problem with “Praising the Army”, as we are always thankful to our army for their service in desperate times. But what’s wrong is criticizingly someone just for TRP and not bringing facts to light.
And the fact is: If police doesn’t have helicopters, bulldozers and boats; how can it help mobilize and perform rescue? The country has chosen to empower its army that’s why they are able to help.
Conclusion: A Police trained with civilian mindset and ably empowered is the need of the day. As that will not only safeguard our nation indirectly; but also serve common citizens well; as they will be closer to us. One can’t put army everywhere and anytime.