Published On: Sun, Aug 26th, 2012

Refined Policing

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Dr. Syed Nazir Gilani,
Secretary General – JKCHR.

Police leadership equally has to be self-trusting and should not err with regard to its duty to the Government, State and the Constitution

The emphasis of Union Home Secretary R K Singh to make Jammu and Kashmir Police ‘more refined’ and his pledge of all support for the force from Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is a heartening news for the police force. Police is the principal agency to enforce the law and is the first contact with the common citizen. Police has not only to be ‘refined’ but equally to be made accountable, trusted and disciplined force. We see that J&K Police has a fresh induction of recruits and officers of credible social and academic backgrounds.

However, it remains still a force which has failed to convince the common man and woman that it is an agency to enforce the rule of law in equity and with a noticeable sense of duty to fairness. It should not be seen disrespecting the law that it is charged to uphold. It should not appear as an instrument in the hands of an administration which fails to carry the trust of the common people and does not remain seriously true to the oath taken under the constitution.

It would be a misdirection of wisdom and failure of leadership in the MHA if Jammu and Kashmir police is boxed for a singular task to tackle militancy and create a habitat of fear by distracting the police force from their composite role of a service which is required to contribute to the protection of the common citizen and calm in the habitat. The pledge made by the Union Home Secretary may have been received favourably in the police force but it does not sensitise the police ‘refinement’ to mean a credible and honest servants of the State.

There is no denying the fact that police in present times has to operate in myriad many different situations and militancy may be just one and a temporary challenge. Police without the trust and support of the people would not succeed in meeting any challenge. It is important that J&K police is cultivated as people friendly force and not confused as a supernatural force to do supernatural or mechanical chores like a robot. It would be a betrayal and a disservice to the interests of the society in Kashmir if J&K police is encouraged to see it relevant for one role that is, tackling militancy.

It is not a secret anymore that the authors of militancy and its sponsors have run out of market. Although too late but they have found that they are no more relevant and in the interests of the Rights Movement or day to day quality life of the people. Therefore, one could reasonably argue that R K Singh’s assurance to the police force lacks the main element of serving the rights and interests of the common people.

GoC 15 Corps Lieutenant General Om Prakash, Director General of Police (DGP) Ashok Prasad, IGP Kashmir S M Sahai and GoC 19 Infantry Division Major General Bipin Rawat remain three very important wisdoms charged to lead the important discipline of local and national interest in Jammu and Kashmir. If any one of them is a State Subject he has a higher burden of responsibility and has to meet a high load of expectations. The non State Subject officers in charge of the various disciplines have even much higher burden of responsibility in the State habitat. It is an exceptional habitat and the conduct of a non State officer is always seen here with a degree of suspicion. Therefore it should remain representative of the best Indian character and in line with the principal roles embedded in the bilateral agreement between the Government of Jammu and Kashmir and the Government of India.

Most important of these responsibilities is to protect ‘life’, ‘honour’ and ‘property’ of the people and secure them against any external threat until the future of the State is settled in accordance with the application made by the Government of India at the UN Security Council in January 1948 and submissions made by the Government of India at the UN. It is not only the Government of India but Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah has also made a submission before the UN Security Council on behalf of the Government of Jammu and Kashmir. It is important that the quantum of police ‘refinement’ is not reduced to the ordinary or common level. It has to be overwhelming and all embracing so that the enhanced and energizing service conditions of the police force encourage it to set a credible example of a responsible discipline in the State.

Police leadership equally has to be self-trusting and should not err in regard to its duty to the Government, State and the Constitution. It has to resist to yield as a mere instrument in the hands of the ruling elite to protect the constituency of the comfort for them. Police has to take pride as the servants of the State and people remain the first concern. It would be a violation of the Constitution and oath if the police runs to hunt with the elements in the Government and wrongs the interests of the common people.

An enlightened police leadership (State Subject or non State Subject) has to serve in line with the broad Constitutional spreads under articles 4 and 48 of J&K constitution. Every officer in the State has to remain fully conscious of his and her Constitutional duties, yet to be addressed under these two articles. It is a fact that J&K Governments and its machinery have continually failed to discharge the duties duly identified by the J&K Constitution. It seems as if the Government and the instruments of the State have no other work, than to look for a ‘militant’ and ‘tackle’ him. It is an unreliable approach and without common man’s interest at heart or without any reference to him, Government and its police force would not remain credible and relevant.

Union Home Secretary has “expressed satisfaction over the law and order situation and praised the efforts of police in tackling militancy.” This part of statement enlarges the scope of the statement and embeds a public interest. Law and order situation has to be addressed in accordance with the daily scheme of life and special circumstances. It does not remain a good policing practice if people are restrained in their homes and denied to take part in religious activities and in exercising their right to assembly and right to voice their political opinions. Restraining Kashmiri leaders (citizens) on special occasions of Friday and Eid from appearing in public or from taking part in Eid prayers is very unfortunate and an example of bad policing.

Muslims of all ages and both genders look forward to Eid prayers at the end of Ramadan. It is an occasion of thanksgiving and appearing as equals in social status. It was in no way a heartening spectacle to see police force and its lower rank leadership rolling up their sleeves to refuse some Kashmiri leaders from stepping out of their homes to go to Eid prayers. Sustained peace and normalcy in the state could not be achieved without addressing the principal grievance of the people and without respecting their rights by the police force which gets paid from the State Exchequer. BSF, Intelligence, police and civil administration are all paid from the State Exchequer and they are the servants of the people and have to serve them without fear, favour, affection or ill will.

Author is London based Secretary General of JKCHR – NGO in Special Consultative Status with the United Nations.  He could be reached on email

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