“Police is no more a strong arm of the state, it’s a tool in the hands of the strong,” said Haryana director general of police (DGP) KP Singh on Wednesday, while adding that “extra-legal institutions are using arm-twisting practices and questionable manners to deviate police from their right path.”
The state police chief went on to blame “tainted recruitments, manner of postings and transfers, personal weaknesses” for the falling professional and ethical standards of policemen.
The occasion was a seminar on ‘Policing in India: The Challenges Ahead’ here, which brought together people performing different roles after the violent Jat agitation in February.
Sharing dais with the DGP were former DGP Prakash Singh (who had slammed the police in his fact-finding report on the agitation) and senior advocate Anupam Gupta (amicus curiae in the case of alleged gangrapes in Murthal during the same agitation). Also present were Justice Suryakant and Punjab DGP Suresh Arora.
The Haryana DGP also used the occasion to blame the police failure to gather evidence in the Jat agitation on the legal system. “Direct witness, which is said to be the best evidence, is not sustainable in modern world,” he said, adding that we need to give credence to newspaper reports and CCTV images “especially in mass agitations like the one in Haryana where we didn’t have direct evidence.”
Mass agitations and social order created by the dominated caste are among the new threats to the rule of law, he said.
Anupam Gupta, however, tore into the DGP in his address, saying he (DGP) was referring to strange excuses. The fact, he said, was that the state had withered away in Haryana in the face of Jat agitation and its officers took to its heels. He recalled how an IGP used force to protect himself. He said the cowardice as shown by Haryana Police was inexplicable in a uniformed force.
He was equally unsparing on the Punjab Police which, he said, had once valiantly battled terrorism. “There is a complete lack of professionalism in police in both Punjab and Haryana, complete indiscipline, politicisation and above all complete brutalisation,” he said in his impassioned speech.
While recalling the crisis that Haryana faced during the agitation when deputy commissioners and police chiefs expressed helplessness to help the residents, Prakash Singh emphasised the need to have police reforms. “If you have a capable DGP, half of the problems will be solved,” he said.
Punjab DGP Suresh Arora said terrorism was the biggest challenge cops faced in the state when terrorists continued to get training on foreign land. He said cops were also human beings who needed rest and time for their families, which will help improve their performance.
Justice Suryakant said police needed professionals in different streams such as law and order, investigation, human rights and human behaviour.