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Thankless Job

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There has been much criticism of the manner in which the Delhi Police has handled the ongoing communal conflict in some parts of the city-state. This has been done by the pampered elite, and those who will themselves not abide with even the most basic laws without enforcement. Every two bit VIP or ex-VIP requires deployment of personal security for their convenience, burdening an already understaffed force. There are imaginary standards quite divorced from the reality with which the force is expected to conform. Also, not enough thought is being given to the manner in which a ‘civic’ protest has suddenly segued into full scale bloodletting.

Calls for deployment of the Army imply that the rioters will submit to its moral authority and not have the temerity to challenge its might. However, in a situation where firing might be required, it is much better that this be done by the police, rather than the Army, keeping the larger perspective in mind. As such, maintaining law and order is best left to the police. (It may be noted that despite all the troubles, the Army has not been deployed in Naxalite affected states. Even in places like J&K, it provides back up to the police in cordoning off operations or taking on foreign trained anti-national elements.)

In actual fact, Delhi’s Police Force is among the best in the country. Under the present circumstances, it has a difficult task at hand, caught between manufactured public opinion and the proximity of India’s highest courts. It did what was necessary during the disturbances that took place in JNU and Jamia Millia Islamia, but had to face the ire of the judiciary and the highly influential alumni of these institutions. It has just been castigated by the judiciary for having allowed the Shaheen Bagh occupation. So, if it acts effectively at the beginning of an agitation, it is damned, and if it holds back, it is condemned! This makes the task extremely difficult, which should be appreciated by the general public and those in authority.

The areas where the troubles have taken place are not isolated villages or townships – they are seamlessly part of the larger city. There is a lot of transit movement and all present are not necessarily locals. As such, it is not easy to ‘close down’ an area for better management. They have done their best thus far, already having lost two of their personnel. The courage shown by some of them has already been seen over the media. At difficult times like this, it is the duty of the people to not just extend all the required cooperation, but also provide the much needed moral support that they need.