DailyPost 1886

The main duties of the police are maintenance of law and order and prevention and detection of crime. Beyond these two cardinal duties only others related to traffic, VVIP security and a lot many others come into play. If you get into the law-and-order part, which is certainly the primordial, what percentage can be called to be emanating out of political causes; decisions emanating out of lack of consensus, political vendetta spilling out in the open, inciting of violence / law and order situation, to  forceful passage of laws – consensus missing again. It might also be a politically adversarial working style, or it can be a simple fight for political survival of a party or a leader.

Elections the whirlpool of power politics is an expected law and order circus. Can elections ever happen without the fear of likely breakdown of law-and-order situation? Or take it the other way round, can the law-and-order machinery be dispensed with in at least the peaceful areas. The categorization of polling booths of the sensitivity across the country, belies the democratic spirit which should have become our DNA by now. During the elections we find the civilian law and order machinery and the para military forces fully involved in conducting of a democratic process, which has the maximum sanctity, but cannot happen with full proof force.

What is there in Indian politics that has made it a law and order potboiler? Or the political class is convinced of the fact that it is the primary job of police to take care of the law and order issues being created directly, indirectly or tangentially by them. Some leaders are snowballing law and order issues themselves and are handled by deftness and expertise by the police. Some others are in the habit of spewing venom at the drop of a hat, whatever may be the consequences. The cases emanating from political law and order situations end up in huge numbers, to be withdrawn by one government or the other. This gives a feeling there is a way out of the legal imbroglio. The breakdown of law and order has been closely associated with the fate of political class and parties. It can be termed as the democratic cult of a law and order equilibrium.

The caste clashes or communal clashes can happen for the flimsiest of reasons or for even celebrating a festival at the wrong place. How many of us are ready to believe it remains devoid of politics and politicians. Agitations for a variety of reasons from temple entry to reservations can be genuine and true to the democratic tool of protest. Here again how many and how far have  remained outside the political realm. Naxalite and similar movements may run on their own fuel, the connections, if any, are not easy to decipher. Rest others are small law and order issues which die out of show of force or energy naturally  petering out. The well established and robust interconnect between politics and law and order has to end for true democracy to flourish.


Sanjay Sahay

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