DailyPost 1961

It is the mandated task of the state to provide protection to each and every one of its citizens, and to live without fear can be safety turned as a human right. How much of the democratic right is provided for  is a billion-dollar question? What quantum of it we are not able to provide because of lack of resources or the will to do or a completely disoriented priorities and goals, can never to empirically found out. *It is not in the interest of any of the stakeholders, who are both safely and comfortably ensconced in the cosy surroundings. If it does not bother the people in the security or government establishment, then everything is supposed to be fine. The pace at which our security systems respond can be dictated by a variety of reasons, of which real requirement can be one.

While the individuals, groups and communities remain to live on the edge of security from a variety of elements; from personal vendetta, to criminal gangs to organized crime and also the vast tracts of population living under the fear of the barrel in the Naxalite infested areas and such other devastated areas. They keep pleading for protection and some have to die keeping on pleading for it. Predictability of protection, though not mentioned in this manner is a prerequisite to our constitutional guarantees. *What percentage of the Indian population lives in the comfort of this mandated protection? At the opposite end of the spectrum we have the political class.

Protection and security are their entitlement. Very rarely you will find an elected representative who does not have the comfort of protection, most of the times,  not warranted. Even in the smallest of the political gatherings, you find the police presence and that too bountiful. The elected representative in his constituency automatically enjoys a level of  protection / security / show of power, given the fact he controls the levers of the movement of officers and staff to a considerable degree. The fad of the politician moving in convoys adds to his visibility value and also a superficial need to provide protection. Besides the need of it, which itself is suspect, there is a killing sense of entitlement that the security dispensation has been created to cater to them.

If they are so close to the masses, why do they need so much of security. Think of the hypothetical situation of the politicians not requiring protection, security or police show, what percentage of the police would be free for more relevant policing work. Even officially the maximum number of protection requests come from the politicians and maximum is provided to them as well. Officials, defence / police and other people delivering in challenging and hostile circumstances can successfully manage without it. For what should you get protection, is the one final moot point. If you do everything in the colour of office, for the society, out of a clear anti-social / anti-crime strategy and action or for actions and speech of political venom. Is the state committed to provide protection for danger because of criminal background, likelihood of political violence of their own making, making inflammatory speeches, using forums for hate and being part of unending political violence? Is this the price we have to pay for democracy?


Sanjay Sahay

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