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INDIAN POLICE AND FIFTY YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

Independence circa half a century back marks the greatest turning point in the history of Indian police. It marks the end of 88-year history of policing on modern lines under the British Raj which began with the enactment of the Madras District Police Act of 1859 and assumed countrywide acceptance with the enactment of the Police Act of 1861. Independence marks the beginning of the history of Indian police under Indian

hands in a democratic milieu unlike of yore though in form and contents they were its continuation. The hitch lay in its sprit, in the contradictions of the intentions of a colonial police and the traditions of a democratic police. It patently is against jus naturale to expect a colonial police transform to a democratic setup overnight with the awakening of the country at midnight. Spirit is never known to be a quick-chameleonic, particularly while form and contents maintain their stead. Change in spirit is the natural outcome of changes in ambience leading to metamorphosis of value system and attitudes by rapid exposures to changed experiences. The process perforce requires a very long period of trails and tribulations to ripen the spirit to its new avatar. The first fifty years of independence of India marks this period in context of the spirit of Indian police

maturing to democratic traditions in the hands of Indian rulers.

RISE OF CLANDESTINE OPERATIONS

It is significant that the history of police of sovereign India begins immediately posterior to the turbulent years of the second world war which opened up or saw

2 expansion of a new vista of duties for the police worldwide. The most kenspeckle of them is clandestine operations in international scale for national security. Though the history of intelligence collection and covert operations go as far back as human history itself and stand next only to prostitution as the oldest profession practised by man, it flowered, expanded and received worldwide plaudite as an established tool of statecraft only during and after the maelstrom of the second world war with Germany, the Soviet Union and Britain before and during the war and the United States and Israel after, perfecting the techniques. The raising of the Central Intelligence Agency(CIA) in the United States in the early years of 1950”s from the crumbs of the old American secret service of the second world war vintage, the Office of Special Services (OSS), with an elaborate Plans division to handle gray clandestine operations abroad (sometimes domestic operations also) marked a long step in the history of international twilight operations. Following words spelled out by the Hoover Commission during those momentous days form the agenda of secret police service all over the world. The commission, in justfication of postern operations, said, “ There are no rules in such a game. Hitherto acceptable norms of human conduct do not apply. If the US is to survive, longstanding American concepts of fair play’ must be reconsidered. We must develop effective espionage and counterespionage services. We must learn to subvert, sabotage and destroy our enemies by more clever, more sophisticated and more effective methods than those used against us. It may become necessary that the American people be acquainted with, understand and support this fundamentally repugnant philosophy”.

3 COVERT OPERTIONS OF INDIAN POLICE

Free India, in spite of its moral values and abiding impact of Gandhian Philosophy of truth and honesty, found covert operations sine qua non for survival. Though attempts were scratchy in inchoate stages, India made significant breakthroughs in penetrating, moulding and controlling the affairs of the neighbouring countries after raising the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) to handle covert operations in foreign countries. Its operations and performances in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan and to somewhat lesser extent in Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Burma and some of the Gulf countries are on par with the best in the world. Its chevisance in international events like the creation of Bangladesh, containment of Eelam ambitions of Sri Lankan Tamils in India, eheckmating the Kashmir card of Pakistan and controlling the terrorist

misadventures of international Sikh communities against Indian targets earned it worldwide accolades. This is in spite of the fact that Indian secret police is a featherweight performer in the arena of international clandestine wars and its overall performance in world events is very unimpressive for the size and resources of the country. Reasons are many. Foremost of them is lack of commitment to the national cause and national ideologies like national integration, democracy, secularism, nonaligned movement and mixed economy. Another reason is the moral atrophy

experienced by Indian police after independence leading to decline in professional commitments. Postings to RAW with opportunities of foreign assignments has become a status symbol and lost all substance of challenges and performances from it. The other reason is political interferences in postings to and transfers of the RAW officials. It is

4 political connections rather than security screening and clearances and aptitude for clandestine operations decide the postings in the RAW. Huge unbudgeted and

unaccounted funds at disposal makes the RAW postings highly lucrative and attracts easy going siblings of the powerful to its fold. This is an extremely dangerous trend in a security apparatus where commitment, trust and absolute secrecy form the basics of survival and an unguarded moment may make life and death difference for many. More important, clandestine operations unlike other police responsibilities require highly specialised skills, ignoring this need in manning the organisation is a sure way of compromising the organisation, betraying its operational efficiency and exposing the country to dangerous security threats. Another important reason for the retarded growth of Indian secret police is the general lack of security consciousness in the country and inability to see and place the imperatives of a national security policy in right perspective. These glitches end-up in security breaches of the dimension of ISRO spy case Purulia arms drop case. Rattan Sehgal episode etc. India lacks larger horama of the country and its survival needs and goes algate weighed down with ephemeral considerations. Its approaches to national security are always piecemeal, incoherent, causal and disturbingly unsound. It does not have a sound and well-conceived national security policy. Its approach to security threats are always short-term face-saving responses which never contribute for the real long –term security needs of the country. If it is the situation at government level, people who fought a mighty power to the situation at government level, people who fought a mighty power to liberate their country from the yoke of foreign rule just half a century back care nevermore about even saving what they gained then from the internal and external inimical forces by as much as raising a public debate

5 on the subject of the imperatives of national security. Indian security now is left to the mercy of time and it is sheer luck that Indian democracy survived for long decades from the hungry wolves waiting to fall and prey on it.

NATIONAL SECURITY POLICY

National security policy is the craze of super powers of the world today. It is the essence and unifying factor behind all national policies of most developed as well as developing countries. Whether it is foreign policy, defence police, economic policy, industrial policy, trade and commerce policy, science and technology policy or human resources development policy, they are all oriented with an eye on national security and implemented to boost the national security goals. Most developed countries have

exclusive super agencies reporting directly to the head of the government to advise on, oversee and mastermind national security policies and its operations. The US has the National Security Agency (NSA) doing yeoman service to the country as the national security advisor to the president of the country and enjoys powers superior even to the CIA in national affairs. Israel and Russia have their efficient equivalents at political levels to formulate their national security interests. Most developed countries have created their own gestalts to mastermind matters touching national security interests with powers invested to override decisions of other departments when national security interests are at stake. India is yet to learn lessons from these developments.

6 PARALLEL POWER CENTRE

The excessive concern for national security in some countries often led to the creation of parallel governments and power centres ectogenous of the democratically instituted governments. There are instances of black acts committed against legitimate policies of the countries in the garb of national security as in the US, and civilian governments toppled and constituted at will eo nomine as in Pakistan. Pakistan is an example of constitutionally elected government living under the shadow of fear of its secret police, the ISI, which assumed on itself the apocryphal responsibilities of Pakistan’s national security. The blackest days of twilight operations in the name of national security were seen by the US when a pollent section of the Plans Division of its own CIA with the cooperation of crime syndicates and Cuban hors la loi, assassinated its young and popular president John. F.Kennedy in 1963 en revanche of the latter’s opposition to the CIA-inspired Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba and pro-peace overtures to the them Soviet Union. A positive aspect of India's’poor concern to security interests is its clean slate as far as existence of secret parallel governments and clandestine powercentres are concerned. It is to the credit of Indian police that its secret police remained subordinate and loyal to their legitimate authorities in the last half century independence. It per se is a remarkable accomplishment. since

INDIAN SECURITY CONCERNS

7 This does not mean that everything is all right with Indian security agencies. Their filed for operation continues to be confined to traditional isolative methods ignoring the present needs of integrated approach in national policies and programmes. This is a dangerous trend in the present competitive world where even a minor edge over the opponent makes the difference of elimination and survival for a country. While even developed countries made all aspects of their national policies subordinate to their security interests, India cannot afford to subordinate its security concerns to the freaks of people who come to head various ministries in government and their political and personal ideologies. India lacks in a cadre of long range security programmes to make its security operations meaningful and purposeful. It is lagging in hi-tech ultra-secret espionage operations far behind world standards and nowhere comes near even to the old U-2 spy plane of the US of 1950’s . Its secret police is yet to make perficient use of the country’s impressive progresses in fields like satellite launches to the outer space and other space programmes. Except for isolated cases as in Pakistan, India is yet to fully utilise the services of world-class mercenaries in its clandestine operations as in vogue in almost all major gray operations worldwide. Security services in India unlike other countries world over, do not weigh high in the national priorities of the country.

SPECIAL BRANCHES

This affairs are worse in Special Branches or intelligence units of states and union territories. Special Branches have become pure and simple tools of political intelligence

8 of ruling parties with surveillance over political opponents and assessment of field situations for the benefit of political masters becoming the piece de resistance at the cost of law and order concerns accrescently losing importance in the portfolio of their

responsibilities. As far as internal security is concerned, they are rather passe and ill equipped for the task in manpower efficiency and resources, hi-tech equipments, expertise,

organisational

motivation factors, save some routine VIP security

exercises sans any expertise in it. That is also meant just to oblige and gratify political masters and provide grandeur to their presences. Their assets in news media which is sine qua non for a sound Special Branch is rather impoverished and mostly confined to local newspapers for the purpose of disinformation and keeps dissemination. subordinates as track of news

Occasionally, these contacts are misused to promote favourite authors or experts in a discipline. The ambition of these Special

Branches providing skilled recruits to security agencies at the national level remains a far-fetched dream in the situation of gross unconcern for national security commitments.

PERMANENT CORE GROUP FOR NATIONAL SECURITY

Institution of an all-powerful apolitical agency for national security with a permanent core group of security experts of proven commitments to the cause of the country as the nucleus at the highest level as the guide and advisor in national security matters to the head of the government a la the NSA of the US with over-riding powers can alone change the situation for free India and lead it safely to the centennial of its independence. Efforts made to this end till now are rather sketchy, ill-conceived and

9 half-hearted. It is high time now that spade-works are initiated to institute a

comprehensive agency in India for handling national security concerns.

EMPHASIS ON VIP SECURITY

National security for all practical purposes in India is synonymous with VIP security and Indian police vocabulary refuses to read for it any meaning much beyond protecting leaders. This is because of the lopsided loyalties and aberrations in Indian police in understanding professional objectives and responsibilities of the police at best and a tendency to trade off professional responsibilities and services for the benefits of career promotions of a few at worst. That is why units for the security of different kinds of VIPs like Black Cats, National Security Guards and Special Protection Group are raised from time to time. While security of national leaders is an important role of a

national security policy, it is not the only plank on which the national security concerns stand. There are many more important and vital roles a national security policy is called to assume and sidelining those aspects for the sake of a single role of political clout is suicidal tot he country’s security interests. It is public knowledge in India how VIP security has become a public farce with all kinds of people with some lobbying muscle striving and obtaining a security classification depending on the type of money and power they have so that they get the cover of highly trained police personnel as a caract of their prestige and social standing. It has to be understood that all matters concerned with national security are highly sensitive and considerably grave entities and need to be

10 treated as such. They should not be allowed to stoop to epideictic exercises for the

benefit of a few powerful as witnessed in democratic India. Such abuses lower the gravity of national security commitments. National security has to be treated and

respected as a matter of highest priority and insulated from the trifle fancies of superficial leaders. The strength and relevance of national security to the country lie in its esoteric and purposeful operations; not in pandering to the superficial needs of a powerful few.

VIP SECURITY AS A SHOW BUSINESS

VIP Security has become such a craze in Indian police that it incorporates all wings of the national police force in its body, it be central police, state police or district police, it be security police, Special Branch, striking forces, investigating agency or law and order police. In the process, other police functions rapidly lose importance as the pressures of VIP security mount up with the number of dignitaries and their spheres of activities expand with the accommodation of more and more influential people and their kith and kin under pressures as VIPs. All said and done, these VIP securities are nothing but shams meant only as epideictic ensemble without any substance as far as real protection is concerned in the present age of hi-tech terror.

The period saw no substantial progress in expansion and reorganisation of the district police. There are much to be done in the field, both in strengthening the

organistion and cleansing it. Policing at this level comes in daily contact with the hoi polloi, and for them police means the district police. The police at this level really form

11 the image of the police for the common man. Unfortunately, corruption is rampant in district police, because of the powers invested in it to control the daily affairs of the people. The power breeds corruption; and the corruption breeds mad rush to man key positions in district police. In magnitude also, the district police form the biggest slice of the police force in the country.

The serious maladies witnessed in secret police and investigation agencies of India are actually common symptoms of the atrophy observed in all wings of Indian police including the law and order police. Dishonesty, lack of professional commitment, extra-professional loyalties and unchecked corruption are the albatross that commonly suffer Indian police at all levels. It is not a rosy picture to have to a police force more than a century old and now reaching half a century mark of existence in a free country. The deterioration of Indian police is steep after independence. Perhaps, democratic rule in the country sinsyne has not done any good to Indian police. The nexus of police with criminals and politicians is smothering and squeezing the country and its public life out of its vitality to a stage of paralysis. While the virus is coram populo in states like Bihar and UP, it is eating up the vitals of the country in other states ab intra. No part of the country is free from this slow process of sphacelus. The talk of private armies during elections in UP and Bihar is indicia to the confidence Indian police inspire in public after fifty years of self-rule. Indian police in 1990s appear like a century-old giant tree rendered hollow ab intra by the temite of corruption. Unless something is done fast to return the vitality of the professional pride and commitment, Indian police may

12 irrevocably fail the country in leading independence. it forth to the century-mark of India’s