Union Home Minister Amit Shah said on Saturday that the most important thing in a democracy is the citizens’ independence and freedom of expression, which is directly related to good police work, and this needs to be continuously improved.
He said that “beat cop”, deployed at the lowest level of the police system, makes the “greatest contribution” to making a democracy successful by protecting the common man.
During the keynote speech during the 51st founding day of the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D), the minister said that democracy cannot succeed if public order is not good.
“Democracy is our nature… this was our character even before independence and we accepted this after getting freedom. This is the nature of our people. The most important thing in a democracy is the independence and freedom of expression of a person, ” he said.
When it comes to a person’s freedom of speech, it’s directly linked to law and order, he noted.
“Democracy is not just about voting for parties and forming a government… this is just part of the system. What is the success or the fruit of democracy? The fruit is that 130 crore people of the country depending on their abilities and intelligence, can develop themselves and the country benefits from this cumulative effect for its development,” said Amit Shah.
He emphasized that democracy cannot thrive if the public order in a country is not good.
“This work is done by police and troops guarding our borders. For a successful democracy it is very important that the safety of a person is guaranteed. The citizen must continue to be given their legal rights undisturbed. A citizen must be able to fulfill of his duties in the spirit of the Constitution,” said the Union Minister.
And that’s why, he said, upgrading and improving the police force is BPR&D’s job.
Mr Shah noted that the image of the police is at times maligned by certain circles.
“I don’t know why there has been a campaign to damage the image of the police. Some incidents are hyped and shown, while good incidents are not popular,” he said.
The interior minister said that while several other institutions such as parliament, state assemblies, judiciary, election commission, CAG and vigilance commission have made democracy a success, the police commissioner deserves a much greater appreciation in this context.
“Not because I’m the home secretary, but I’ve had the thought since childhood that to make democracy successful is the biggest contribution of the beat-constable,” he said.
Without reinvigorating beat policing, grassroots policing cannot be good and this needs to be updated, which requires a technology upgrade and BPR&D needs to work on that, the minister noted.
“I want to say it again that the most difficult job in the government service is that of a police officer,” he repeated.
During all the festivals, be it Holi, Deepwali or Eid, police officers are on duty, he said.
“There are no set working hours, nor a specific work area for a police officer. I have seen all this take a toll on their health and there is no recognition of these things… the sacrifices made by police personnel are not mentioned much the minister regretted.
He asked the BPR&D to give “special focus” and work on the image of the police.
Police should change their work style according to the challenge, he said, counting cyber-attacks, drone attacks, narcotics smuggling, counterfeit currency and hawala rackets as the “biggest” challenges for the security organization.
“For all of this, you (BPR&D) need to prepare our armed forces and also study best practices around the world,” he said.
Police skills need to be honed, said Mr Shah.
The minister also spoke about reforms introduced by the Modi government and several steps taken to empower law enforcement agencies.
“The Department of the Interior is doing a number of things to bring about radical changes to the IPC, CrPC and the Evidence Act,” he said.
In this context, there has been interaction with at least 14 states, three UTs, eight central police organizations, six CAPFs and 7 NGOs; and they sent in their suggestions.
“This is a work in progress… this is a major work,” he added.
The minister said his government has made necessary “radical changes” to the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) to control the funds sent to “destabilize” the country.
Speaking to officers and personnel of several police forces of the Central, State and Union Territory, Mr Shah said that the next decade will be very important from an internal security point of view as the country under Prime Minister Narendra Modi made huge strides towards a strong nation and economy, and we must not think that some forces will try to stop this.
He added that as many as 3,700 armed cadres from various insurgent groups have surrendered their weapons to the Union government in the past two years.
Whoever will shun guns, we will take steps to make them mainstream, he said.
The minister eventually asked the BPR&D, a central government think tank, to prepare the police as smart and strong units.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NewsMadura staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.)