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HindustanTimes Mon,22 Sep 2014

Police admit they need to change for Muslims' trust

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, July 17, 2014
First Published: 11:02 IST(17/7/2014) | Last Updated: 12:34 IST(17/7/2014)

A report prepared by senior police officers has said the force is distrusted by the Muslims in the country and has recommended several corrective steps to counter its perception in the community, according to a leading daily.

According to The Indian Express, the report 'Strategy for making police forces more sensitive towards minority sections', which has been made by three director generals of police and an Intelligence Bureau representative, says Muslims see the force as "communal, biased and insensitive…. ill-informed, corrupt and lacking professionalism".

"Poor representation of the minorities in the police forces has contributed to this distrust and suspicion. It has to be admitted that the conduct of some members of the police forces in various states during communal riots had only served to strengthen and heighten these suspicions and distrust in the minority communities," the Express quotes from the report.

The report, presented at the director generals' conference in New Delhi in 2013, is with the central governmant which is yet to act on it, the Express says.

The reports aims at providing a framework for a Standard Operating Procedure to prevent communal riots and wants a Community Policing Plan to be strictly followed by all states.

The reports calls for "attitudinal changes in the police at all ranks" through training, outreach programmes and forming specialised wings to combat rumours and instigation through social media and suggests that the bias within the force needs to be dealt with.

"As a first step it is very necessary for the police leadership to admit that the problem exists and acknowledge that there is a need for correction within us."

"We cannot afford to lose time in correcting the perception as the present perception is adversely affecting several vital aspects of policing, including combating terror, and thus maintaining the internal security of the country."

With a focus on communal tension and riots in the country, it also recommends that a specialised cyber wing be created to keep tabs on rumours and misuse of social media to "instigate communal emotions".

It says this wing should be under the government's cyber security arm CERT and that the state police forces should be responsible for training and its working.

The report says a professional public relations unit to deal with dissemination of information about sensitive law and order issues is also required.

It outlines the need to develop an early warning system to look into communal tension, and also pick on communal elements and says "only trusted and tested police officers, who have earned the trust of the community, should be placed in communally sensitive places".

The Express says report also stresses on comprehensive monitoring system, through which "rabid elements" in all religions can be constantly monitored, and their speeches and agitation recorded on camera.

The report also suggests the need for a “legal machinery” to prevent the movement and visits of such elements to communally charged places.

It also says there is a need for special laws to check activities of fundamentalist groups and that all state governments should try and check on funding by religious groups which can be misused, and also create special courts to look at communal riots.


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