Understanding the deteriorating stature of Delhi police in last few years
Farmers were protesting peacefully for more than 2 months despite being maligning as Khalistanis, Naxalite or proxies of “arhartias” (middlemen) and rich farmers. Several leaders maintained that the tractor rally will be peaceful. But how come suddenly the “Anndata” (food-providers) became violent and attacked their own police?
Farmers’ Union leaders have said that around 90 per cent of the people who took part in the rally came back peacefully from the designated route. They alleged that Deep Sindhu, a Punjabi actor whose picture with Amit Shah and Narendra Modi has gone viral and who was seen helping BJP MP Sunny Deol during 2019 general election, brought his own group of farmers and incited them to divert from the designated route of tractor rally. He led his group of farmers to New Delhi ahead of the scheduled time and took them to Red Fort, where Nishan Sahab flag was hoisted at the Red Fort.
Going as per the union leaders, most of the farmers were peaceful during the tractor rally. Therefore, it was surprising to find the police using lathis and tear gas against farmers who had remained peaceful for more than 60 days. It was equally distressing to see farmers chasing policemen, beating them with lathis and policemen jumping into the drain at the Red Fort to save their lives.
Role of police in tackling the protesting farmers?
Yes, the police were facing large crowds, but why were they not prepared for this? There was sufficient indication that more than lakhs of farmers, along with many tractors were about to enter Delhi. The fact that Delhi police has asked the Supreme Court to intervene in the tractor rally or doing several rounds of discussions with the farmers regarding the route, shows they knew the apprehensions. Still, why there was not enough number of police personnel available to prevent the untoward incidents?
Farmers have also alleged that Delhi police had put barriers in the decided route. This made many farmers to change their route. Why such barriers were put which was case ineffective to stop the farmers, who were on tractors? Why police had to resort to lathi-charge or use teargas even if they had changed the route? Farmers alleged that police made some last-minute changes, which were bound to create confusion and chaos. Why there were last-minute changes?
Whatever the reason is, the leadership of Delhi police seems to have failed here. If they say that they didn’t have enough intel, they should be considered incompetent. The sequence of events indicates that Delhi police were complacent in their duty by not fulfilling their responsibility. It is no surprise that people are alleging that the events were deliberately fabricated to discredit the farmers’ protest.
The uncanny similarity between the sequence of events that occurred on the Republic Day and what happened during the Jamia Milia Campus or JNU campus violence or even during Delhi police violence is too had to be missed.
The Delhi police on December 15, 2019, had entered the Jamil Milia University campus without the permission of college authority, and resorted to excessive use of force. They also attempted to destroy evidence of their complicity by breaking several CCTV cameras after realizing that their acts were being recorded. The same police force stood as a mute audience when goons entered the JNU campus to attack students. The complicity of police has also been in question as it has been alleged that have conducted one-sided investigations into the incident where the victims instead of the perpetrators were accused and the lawyers of victims were intimidated through charges of flimsy cases and raids.
Police despite being responsible for detection and prevention of crimes and maintaining the public order, do not enjoy much goodwill in the society. Recent events have further alienated masses. Misuse of powers to victimize innocents, fake encounters and instances of rampant corruption have credited the police force with a bad name.
The fact the police leadership is unable to prevent the drift is a reflection of their selection, grooming and training. Political interference is also a culprit in this overall fall.
Does Delhi police have less experience in tackling mob violence?
Delhi police was hailed as a model police force due to its efficiency and professionalism, only by the standards of police sensitivity across the country. But this impression comes from the kinds of crimes that the Delhi police deals with. They have expertise in tracking down murderers, rapists, burglars with relative swiftness given that media builds an immense pressure on them.
But the Delhi police has very few experiences of handling mob violence of communal clashes. If one talks to the on-foot soldiers of Delhi police, they will say that they no experience in handling a large-scale mob violence or communal violence apart from the recent 2020 Delhi riots. As per the India Today report, even the top brass of the Delhi police does not enough relevant experience.
During the Delhi riots 2020, National Security Advisor- Ajit Doval had to take charge of the situation. His involvement means the involvement of PMO. This indicated that the that Delhi Police was not prepared to restore normalcy in the riot-affected areas of the National Capital during 2020 riots.
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