E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: How, just how, can we expect our police force to gather intelligence of an imminent terrorist attack and prevent it, or fight a Naxal attack like the one in Dantewada recently, when most times all they are equipped with are a lathi, a whistle and antique jeeps such as these?
Do we subject our future policemen to the rigours of a prolonged and intense recruitment test which the army and air force selection boards do to ‘get the best’ in to their fold ?
Do we have the likes of a national defence academy like in Khadakvasla, or a naval training centre like in Cochin, or an air force training centre scattered around the country, to train our police men and women?
Imagine our poorly selected, ill-trained, ill-motivated police trying to catch a terrorist like Kasab. The difference between them is appalling and as clear as cheese and chalk.
On the one hand is the archetypal terrorist: young, fit, brainwashed, computer-savvy, expert in handling machine guns, grenades, bombs, adept at setting off fires, and trained in modern methods of communication like voice, data and satellite (‘Chacha! Hum CST mein hain? Ab kya karen?).
How do we expect our archetypal Sakharam—old, potbellied, uneducated, ignorant to the ways of the modern world—to even put up a fight with his outmoded weapons? In Bombay on 26/11 at VT, between two policemen, they had one rifle to stop two terrorists spraying bullets at will from their AK47s.
Even ATS boss Hemant Karkare wore a supposedly bullet proof as crisp and strong as a papad.
The point is, we treat our uniformed men like cattle, their living quarters worse than a cowshed, their working hours long and arduous, their work itself subject to political pressures and whims of all kind. They are more often depicted as buffoons in any of the Bollywood or regional cinemas.
Can we compare them to the respect and awe that we reserve for the personnel of, say, Scotland Yard, or the police force in other countries in terms of pay, training and general living and working standards?
And now, we expect them to fight the invisible menace of Naxals and restore the rule of law in nearly half the states of the country?
Naxals are a creation of wanton and deliberate neglect by our successive governments both at the Centre and in the States over a prolonged period.
We adopted a policy of ‘benign neglect’ of these sensitive, poor and god forsaken areas. We created a situation and an atmosphere which was akin to putting a ‘welcome’ carpet to countries like China to just walk in. These governments have armed our insurgents, militants and naxals to the teeth with equipment far superior than our police force.
Our insufficiently trained and inadequately equipped police are now expected to roam around the mine-infested terrains and fight heavily armed, armoured and unseen Maoists with lathis, whistles and rifles. No wonder Naxals made mincemeat of them in Dantewada and are promising more and worse.
Generally, “We, the People” believe the police force is corrupt from top to bottom and condemn them. To some extent this is true. But given such pathetic conditions of work and living, given most of the government departments (PWD, etc) and political system are corrupt, how do we expect our police to be paragons of virtue?
As long as we treat our police force like mules, subject them to all kinds of indignities, not encourage them with proper training, equipment and performance incentives, and provide a decent living, our country will suffer at the hands of terrorists, militants, insurgents and naxals.
Finally, the police themselves will perforce seek other avenues in search of a decent living.
Mumbai police have recently got amphibian vehicle that can go both on land as well as in sea and other modern vehicles. Rest of the country is yet to follow
haha! i like this image of BMW.
can it even run or is it that when we press race, front two wheel just pop-out and then we have to borrow block-cart wheels from neighbors. can we use bicycle wheel???
or is it some magical transformer device, disguised into jeep, that is meant to fly like a UFO.
My BMW is far better than this one.
though it is 8 years old :)
The police force is generally expected to handle the law and order problems in a civil society. Terrorists and Naxal pose a special problem.Aspecial task force is needed to tackle them. There is no point in blaming the system for its failure. An immediate step should be taken to curb the menace by deploying a well trained unit to face it on war footing. It is not all practical or possible to train all the police force to face the new situation.
dunno about ERR’s observations, but the last time i checked police in blore had scorpios and boleros and sumos for vehicles, the cheetah patrols had been upgraded from fiero’s (still a decent bike) to pulsars(one of the later versions). The guns have changed in a lot of police stations to better versions and not just old rifles. Comments?
problem here is that people who are supposed to fight/control/monitor activities like terrorists attacks and Naxal revolts (not attacks), do not find there jobs anywhere lucrative. And even if by chance (may be some supernatural activity like transmission of information by heaven’s TV network to earth) they come to now about these activities, they don’t know to whom they must contact. Don’t forget how Shivraj Patil acted when asked for failure of Intelligence services after Mumbai terrorist attacks. We need some real solid people ( much like terrorists) who are not only well versed in social sciences but also in use of latest technology. Train them like hungry lions and let us witness them fighting like real lions. Until then just let me read this
I am the people—the mob—the crowd—the mass.
Do you know that all the great work of the world is done through me?
I am the workingman, the inventor, the maker of the world’s food and clothes.
I am the audience that witnesses history. The Napoleons come from me and the Lincolns. They die. And then I send forth more Napoleons and Lincolns.
I am the seed ground. I am a prairie that will stand for much plowing. Terrible storms pass over me. I forget. The best of me is sucked out and wasted. I forget. Everything but Death comes to me and makes me work and give up what I have. And I forget.
Sometimes I growl, shake myself and spatter a few red drops for history to remember. Then—I forget.
When I, the People, learn to remember, when I, the People, use the lessons of yesterday and no longer forget who robbed me last year, who played me for a fool—then there will be no speaker in all the world say the name: “The People,” with any fleck of a sneer in his voice or any far-off smile of derision.
The mob—the crowd—the mass—will arrive then.
CRPF in Dantewada had AK 47s and not lathis.
Police are well paid if you compare living standards in India. We can not pay dollar salaries.
We have not had a single public servant going to jail on corruption charges even though every one of us know how corrupt police are.
There lies the answer. It is the corruption that makes police inefficient.
No amount of physical measures would do as long as you have so called “intellectuals” supporting the naxals and terrorists in the name of human rights.
USA, with all its high tech stuff and fast cars with flashing lights, could not prevent 9/11…so let us not be agents of those who are trying to sell gadgets!!!
It has become a fashion to write about deficiencies in our forces, after each terror/ naxal attack…rather ERR should focus on exposing naxal-Intellectual nexus!
A timely write up. As far as tools and equipment are concerned we do not have a discard policy leave alone purchase policy. Before Chinese invasion we did not have a discard policy in army also. Soon we found our mules were more reliable than world war II vintage cheverlet, dodge and willys jeep which were our main transport horses reconditioned in Army workshops eternally. Then came a discard policy of 10 years or perhaps 7 years and some milage after much higgle haggle with our finance.Then also we got only Mahinda and jonga again with no research and updating. In Punjab during the terrorist days our Mahindras were no match even to our Maruti gypsys leave alone foreign imported cars terrorists were using
I hope some decison makers see this article. Insurgency is worst type of battle, the enemy is not in uniform, most pople in the area are with them and they have world as market for their ammunition purchase
@ Narayana :
>> We have not had a single public servant going to jail on corruption charges even though every one of us know how corrupt police are…It is the corruption that makes police inefficient.
Rem acu tetigisti!
As others have mentioned, I see police in B’lore well equipped and quite mobile – ie cheetahs, Hoysalas etc.
But what’s the use?
These vehicles have greatly helped them in their main job ie collection of hafta from the hawkers and shops. They don’t spare anyone not even a poor old woman selling flowers – Rs. 10 seems to be the going rate for her per day and possibly per cheetah. They are truly democratic in that sense.
I also see the night patrol folks at the nakabandi toting fine weapons. But damned if I see them genuinely interested in checking any suspicious movement or vehicles. All they want is a quick buck from passing motorists.
Well..they do have the justification for all such activities ie they are on the recovery mode for the money they shelled out when they landed the job and ofc the daily oiling of the ‘system’ that possibly runs to the very top in the hierarchy and the political masters.
CRPF is not like ordinary state police. They have least public dealing/contact. They have a lot of hardship to face, frequent movement across the country etc. They require to be looked at in a different perspective. They should be trained and equipped well. As for the police of the state flashy cars etc we see are only in the capitals of the state and some big towns. If we go to country side where the battle is fought it is a differrent story. In cities too all the flash, equipment seem to reserved for protecting the ministers and MLAs and high officials.