Bias of the police agencies while maintaining public order during riots
A few random thoughts on the point raised on bias of the police agencies while maintaining public order during riots.
1. The present Congress Manifesto talks about police reforms as " clear distinction between the political executive and police administration will be made. The police force will be better provisioned especially in the matter of housing and education facilities; the police force will be made more representative of the diversity our population; and police recruitment will be made more effective and training professionalized to confront new and emerging threats. Accountability of the police force will be institutionalized".
2. The National Police Commission Report 1980 Report 3 para 19.30 and Report 6 para 47.57 has made observations and urged for a pro active policy of the government which is necessary to make the police representative and thereby more able to identify with the community and gain its confidence. The National Police Commission (1981) agreed that there is a strong case for encouraging the recruitment of members of minority community and other weaker sections at various levels in the police force. The Sacchar Committee and others prior have repeatedly pointed to the under-representation of minorities in government services. The Prime Minister has recently indicated the vital importance of having intelligence gathering capability from national to village level. (Statements of May 09). Therefore police recruitment must be drawn from the brightest and the best of a mix of the population as it exists in the areas it serves, society and thereby command confidence of different sections so that the system would function impartially without any slant in favour of any community.
3. The demand should be that the Central Government must publish a diversity and equality policy for the police organisation (although policing is a state subject). This will contain a clear picture of present representation levels within the police establishment and lay down time bound targets for the realisation of affirmative action policies to redress under representation based on demographic breakup and to achieve gender parity across all ranks. The Central Government can show affirmative/pro active action by tying this policy to the police modernisation grants that are sent to the State Governments. A system of performance must be put in place vis a vis inclusiveness for all policies of this nature.
4. Further in 1991 the Union Government had raised the Rapid Action Force (RAF) with the mission of responding to large scale communal riots and related public disorders. This specially trained anti-riot force currently have 10 battalions comprised of personnel from all communities (at least this was the initial mandate). It is therefore important to find out what is the composition of this organisation. Either the RTI or a question in Parliament will clarify this.
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