C071710_False_Proposition_Gautam_Navlakha

C071710_False_Proposition_Gautam_Navlakha - COMMENTARY...

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COMMENTARY Weekly EPW july 17, 2010 vol xlv no 29 23 False Proposition on the Strength of the Police Force Gautam Navlakha A major drive to expand the police force is under way and the government contends that “United Nations norms” on the police-population ratio have to be met. Are its arguments justified? A number of recent killings – 24 armed police personnel of East- ern Frontier Rifles at Silda (West Bengal), 76 personnel of the Central Re- serve Police Force ( CRPF ) in Chintalnar (Dantewada, Chhattisgarh) in April, the bus bombing in May also in Dantewada district that killed 31, many of whom were civilians, and most recently the killing of 27 CRPF j awans in Narayanpur (Chhattis- garh) – has occasioned renewed demand for recruiting more police personnel and raising additional battalions. No less than the union home secretary had earlier said, “our police requirement today is roughly three and half lakhs short….we want to reach the UN [United Nations] a verage and to get to it I need an- other five lakh policemen. So we need to recruit eight lakh over next five years…” ( Economic Times, 19 April 2010). The UN , it is claimed, recommends 222 police personnel for every 1,00,000. In India, it is said, the average is 125 per 1,00,000. 1 The ministry of home affairs has claimed that states allo- cate only 4.3% on police in their budget. As a result, some states have a poor police to people ratio, such as Bihar which has 60 police personnel for 1,00,000 and this becomes even less if one disaggregates the urban from the rural. Thus, against a sanc- tioned strength of 52 for all police stations in the country in some it is as low as 12 as in Madhya Pradesh and 13 in Orissa. While this would tend to justify the demand for more police personnel, there is a need for abun- dant caution in expanding the police force. For one, when the UN refers to police it means civil police as part of criminal jus- tice system, i e, crime fighting and preven- tion, and not armed police who are but a paramilitary force. The difference bet ween armed and civilian police is significant, in terms of their training and mandate. 2 Although the armed police is used for quelling riotous situations, these are for short period deployment under magisterial supervision and are often unlike prolonged use to suppress insurgencies. Yet, when the demand is made to augment the police force, it is not clear if the d emand is for ex- pansion of the civil police or for the armed police. Which expansion is the Union Home Secretary referring to? While the UN speaks of a civil police- people ratio in India it is transformed to justify augmenting the strength of the paramilitary forces. Moreover, when it is said that the aver-
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C071710_False_Proposition_Gautam_Navlakha - COMMENTARY...

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