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Police Shortcomings

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Whatever their political leanings, everybody agrees that the performance of the Police and its supporting forces was grossly inadequate in dealing with the violence that gripped Nuh in Haryana. Be it in anticipating what was likely to occur, or in responding to the events that followed, there was a lack of professional competence. It has emerged that social media was replete with calls for violence by all parties concerned before the proposed yatra, which must surely have been picked up by the intelligence officials, but these were ignored. In fact, local police officials are reported to have said that they did not get any cautionary instructions from their seniors, while intelligence sources claim warnings had been given well in advance.

So, very clearly, police officials at some level were asleep on the job. While it is a fact that the police in India are understaffed as compared to other forces around the world, they still have enough strength, lathi and fire power to take on mob violence of this kind. There are also many decades of experience in dealing with all such challenges even in their complex permutations and combinations. It seems that the new generation of police officers lacks the capability and will-power to develop strategy and ground level tactics based on this knowledge. Standard operating procedures should automatically be triggered at every level of threat, regardless of whether instructions are received from the higher echelons, be it of the force or government.

It is oft repeated that violence is the monopoly of the state. It becomes the fundamental objective of the administrative structure to ensure that this constitutional prerogative is not usurped in any way by any organisation, community or agency. Unless there is clarity on who exercises authority, the business of government cannot go on. Be it Manipur or Haryana, if even for a while, this power has been allowed to go into others’ hands.

It becomes clear from these incidents that the present crop of police officials lack the necessary training to deal with such challenges in the modern day context. A complete overhaul of the training curricula is necessary by obtaining inputs from various domain experts, as well as police forces of nations that face similar challenges. Israel is one that immediately comes to mind. The correct post- incident response is also very necessary, to learn which there is no need to go much further than Yogi Adityanath’s UP.