Prime Minister’s Speech at the Chief Minister's Conference on Internal Security
"I am very happy to be amidst you today. This Chief Ministers’ Conference is a very important occasion to take stock of the internal security situation in our country and deliberate upon the possible strategies to meet the challenges that confront us in this area. It is a matter of satisfaction for us that the earlier meetings have proved useful, leading to a number of concrete steps.
I compliment my colleague the Union Home Minister and his team for their proactive role in matters of internal security. I must also take this opportunity to compliment the Hon’ble Chief Ministers for having ensured that by and large the internal security situation in the country remained stable. But, we all need to be conscious of the fact that serious challenges and threats – primarily from left wing extremism, cross border terrorism, religious fundamentalism and ethnic violence – still persist.
As far as left wing extremism is concerned, the year 2010 saw a decrease over the previous year in the numbers of incidents and casualities of security personnel. But, the number of casualities among civilians increased. Chhattisgarh, Bihar, West Bengal and Jharkhand continue to be a cause of concern in view of the level of violence. The problems in Orissa and Maharashtra are also quite serious. In the fight against Left Wing Extremism, there is a need to have much greater coordination of responses and resources between the central and state forces. I would request the participants in this conference to consider increasing the number of joint operations by state police forces with the assistance of Central forces.
To address local development issues in the Left Wing Extremism affected areas, the Government has recently approved an Integrated Action Plan for 60 selected tribal and backward districts. Under this scheme, substantial funds will be placed at the disposal of a district level committee of officials. I look forward to your views on the Integrated Action Plan.
As far as communal tensions are concerned, the situation that prevailed in 2010 gives us reason for satisfaction. I would like to mention here the tremendous restraint shown by all sections of our society in the wake of the court judgement in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title suits. The response to the judgement by and large was mature, respectful and dignified. Otherwise also, no major communal incident was reported from anywhere in the country in 2010. There was a steep fall in the number of terror attacks also during the previous year, with only two incidents at Pune and Varanasi. While our people and security agencies deserve full credit in these matters, the importance of being constantly vigilant and on our guard cannot be over-emphasized. There can be no let up in our efforts if we are to succeed in our fight against terrorism as well as communal violence.
The highlight of the last year has been the change in the situation in the North-East. The trend of declining violence and casualties continued in 2010, and I have been told that violence is at its lowest levels in many years. I have repeatedly stated that the Indian Constitution is a remarkably flexible instrument, capable of accommodating a diverse range of aspirations. What is essential, however, is a genuine desire for peace and a willingness to abjure the path of violence. It is the commitment of our government, that if these two conditions are satisfied we will respond in full measure in considering the demands of various groups. There has been fruitful engagement with several groups in 2010 and we wish to deepen this process of engagement this year.
The summer of 2010 saw a troubled period in the state of Jammu and Kashmir in the form of protests, particularly by stone-pelters. This form of agitation generated a vicious cycle of violence. It is very unfortunate and sad that despite tremendous restraint shown by the security forces, many young people died and more than 1500 security personnel were injured. As we meet today, the situation in the valley has improved, following the visit of the All Party Delegation to the state, the subsequent announcement of the 8-point programme by the Government and a number of positive measures jointly initiated by the government of India and the state government of J&K. The team of interlocutors is also trying to reach out to the various sections of the people for opening a dialogue with them.
As you would recall, stone pelting by youth had drawn the attention of this house to the need to develop non-lethal techniques and capacities within central and state police organizations to respond to such forms of public protests and associated violence. I am given to understand that the Ministry of Home Affairs has prepared Standard Operating Procedures to this effect and these will be shared with the state governments during this conference.
As we look back at the past year, we can note with some satisfaction that the measures for strengthening our capacity to deal with internal security challenges which were initiated post November 2008 are now yielding tangible results. A total of 23 battalions of BSF, CRPF and SSB were raised in 2010-11. The National Security Guard has been strengthened by creating 4 Regional hubs at Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Mumbai, and 2 Regional centres at Hyderabad and Kolkata. Further operationalisation of Multi Agency Centre – Subsidiary Multi Agency Centre connectivity, modernization of state police forces, induction of trained and equipped manpower into the security forces, strengthening of infrastructure and creation of training capacities, are some key areas which saw further consolidation in the last one year. Government has also accepted the recommendations of the 13th Finance Commission and we have agreed to devolve an amount of more than Rs 2000 crore as grants-in-aid to the states over a period of five years for the training of police personnel and for strengthening police infrastructure. I am sure this will be a very useful initiative.
In order to secure our borders, the work on the Integrated Check Posts at Attari, Raxaul and Jogbani is progressing well. The coastal security initiative gathered good momentum in 2010 with 71 out of 73 coastal police stations being made operational. A total of 183 interceptor boats have been delivered. Substantial funds have been given to Arunachal Pradesh, particularly for development of border areas, porter and mule tracks and administrative centres in remote areas. The state government should expedite implementation of the scheme by setting up a joint implementation machinery with Ministry of DONER, MHA and the Planning Commission.
I am happy to note that the National Investigative Agency, that was raised after the 26/11 terror attack gained much ground in unearthing the Fake Indian Currency Notes networks operating from across our borders and in unraveling the activities of new terror groups.
While the central and the state intelligence agencies are at work, we need to recognize a very significant fact that the best, actionable and prompt intelligence on internal security often comes from the police stations. But people will come forth to give information to the local policeman, only when they see him as a friend. We need to closely examine the functioning of police stations and bring forth changes to make policemen truly people friendly. We need to take three pronged action on community policing, police reforms and informed use of technology respectively to make this happen.
The Centre and the states should work together to formulate guidelines for community policing. I am told that the Kerala Police recently organized an international conference on the subject. We need more such discussions to learn from international experience in community policing. Bridging the gap of mistrust that exists between the police and community will go a long way in collecting actionable intelligence. This also brings me to the idea of involving the academia and professionals, who are experts in the field of data mining and cyber security, in policing.
I am given to understand that training of officers is receiving more focused attention now. This should bring about better human development. But, much more efforts need to be put in the refresher training or for that matter in the reorientation of our cutting-edge police officers and men as it is they who are the ones whom the members of public get in touch with on a daily basis. Till such time we cannot upgrade their skills and bring about a change in their behaviour and attitude – an attitude of ‘service of the people’ – we will not succeed in our efforts to set up a truly people-friendly and professionally competent and very good police force in our states and our country.
Here, I would also like to emphasize the need for our police officers to be specially sensitive to the problems faced by the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, minorities, women and elderly citizens. It is a shame for all of us that atrocities against the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes still continue to exist in our country. It is the duty of our police officers to ensure that no case of atrocity against these under privileged groups goes unpunished. Like the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, most of the women in our country also do not have a voice. They are often at the receiving end of violence which our society condones and sometimes even sanctions. I would expect the State Governments to be alive to the need of protecting our women against violence by doing their very best to ensure punishment to the perpetrators of such violence.
We cannot continue to police our society with archaic laws and policing systems. We are aware that many Police Commissions have made various recommendations on police reforms. I urge the states to seriously look into this aspect.. I would like the Ministry of Home Affairs to carry forward this exercise to its logical conclusion in the Union Territory of Delhi during the coming years so that Delhi Police becomes a model for other state police forces to emulate.
Let me end by wishing the deliberations of this conference all success. I look forward to your recommendations. May God be with you."
Source: Official Website of the Prime Minister of India