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Prime Minister's address to the Conference of State Directors General and Inspectors General of Police
New Delhi, 6 September 2001

Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee addressed the Directors General and Inspectors General of Police (DGPs/IGPs) of all Indian States at a Conference in 2001 in New Delhi. He spoke at length on the challenges of policing in various parts of the country. Following is the text of Prime Ministerís Speech at the Conference.

It gives me great pleasure to be with you once again and share some of my thoughts with you. This annual conference of the Directors General of Police and Inspectors General of Police has emerged as an effective forum for discussing a wide range of issues pertaining to our country's internal security. At the outset, I congratulate the recipients of the President's Police Medal for distinguished service. This honor is conferred on you for the consistently high degree of excellence achieved by you in the discharge of your duties, often working anonymously and under extremely difficult and trying circumstances. Moreover, it illustrates the high value that the Government attaches to the job of the police and the security agencies. I am sure that your dedication and hard work would encourage and motivate the younger generations of policemen to achieve similar excellence and honor. I would also take this opportunity to offer my heartfelt condolences to the families of over a thousand brave colleagues of yours who lay down their lives every year in the service of the nation. We are forever grateful to them and assure their families that they will be well looked after. Intelligence is a critical component of any country's national security apparatus. Its importance has further increased due to several factors impinging on a nation's security as a result of globalization and IT. The world has shrunk. Developments elsewhere have a far greater bearing on developments within the country than ever before. It is, therefore, imperative to know accurately and well in time the emerging trends around us in several areas and disciplines.

This has greatly enlarged the operational responsibilities of our intelligence agencies. All of us recognize the imperative of modernizing the State police forces. Last year, the Centre increased the funds for this five-fold from Rs. 200 crore to Rs. 1,000 crore a year for ten years. The State Governments are expected to make a matching contribution. I am told that the utilization rate under this fund was just over 20 percent. This is a matter of serious concern. It is true that some States have spent more than others. There is, however, an urgent need to step up spending on this joint initiative by the Centre and the State Governments, which is so crucial for improved policing.Following the Kargil Review Committee Report, the Government thought it necessary to take an in-depth re-look at the functioning of our Intelligence agencies. Accordingly, a Group of Ministers (GoM) was set up in April 2000 to review the national security system in its entirety. The GoM has since submitted its report. The Government is now in the process of implementing it. Radical changes are needed in staffing patterns, operational methods, and functional styles. Close cooperation and interaction between Central and State police intelligence set-ups has also assumed greater importance in order to develop a cohesive and quick response. Such close coordination alone can build an effective intelligence system capable of foiling the sinister designs of disruptive and divisive forces. Friends, the past year has been a period of great trial and challenge. I recognize that the police forces all over the country have done exemplary work, whether in combating terrorism and insurgency, communal and caste strife, foiling the sinister designs of foreign based outfits to foment social and economic disorder, or in dealing with organized crime.

A highly motivated and dedicated police force free of sectarian and regional bias acts as an uniting force. It is, therefore, incumbent on all of us to ensure that we have a professionally competent and unbiased police to take care of the diverse security needs of our people.

The situation in Jammu and Kashmir continues to cause serious concern. Everyone knows about the many initiatives that we recently took to end militancy in the State. For over six months, we refrained from initiating combat operations. We did so in the hope that good sense will prevail among the various terrorist groups and their mentors to begin meaningful dialogue for peace in the area. Despite constant provocation and unabated cross-border terrorism, I took the initiative to invite the President of Pakistan, General Pervez Musharraf for talks. It remains our hope that dialogue alone can build mutual trust and understanding and help us arrive at a negotiated settlement over various outstanding bilateral issues, including Kashmir. Our efforts have not yielded the desired results so far. Yet, a definite step has been taken in the quest for peace. We will continue the process set in motion at Agra. Keeping pace with the political and diplomatic initiative on J&K, our security forces have wrested the initiative through some extremely well coordinated, imaginative, and sustained anti-insurgency operations. Over the past few months, militants have suffered severe losses in men and materials.

I compliment the State Police, various para-military forces, the Army, and the Intelligence agencies for having done a good job. It was largely owing to their constant vigil and timely action that major events like the Amarnath Yatra, Panchayat elections, and the census operations in the State could be successfully conducted, despite the militants' threats to disrupt them. As the Assembly elections in the State draw near, I am confident that the security forces and the administration would rise to the occasion to ensure a free and fair poll. As regards the North East, the Government is committed to usher in a new era of peace, normalcy, and all-round development in a region suffering from decades of insurgency, militancy, and violence. We are trying to institutionalize the peace efforts initiated earlier with the principal Naga militant group, the NSCN (I-M). We hope to achieve concrete results without in any way adversely affecting the interests and endangering the territorial integrity of other States. Today there is a clamor for peace and security among the people of Assam. Peace negotiations with the Bodos have also made encouraging progress. We are also studying the prospects of initiating similar peace negotiations with other militant and insurgent groups in the North-Eastern region, together with sustained efforts for the economic and infrastructural development of the entire region. I compliment the determination and dedication of the police forces of different States and the Central intelligence agencies in neutralizing a large number of ISI-sponsored attempts to target individuals, institutions, vital installations, and public property.

The network of fundamentalists, the underworld, terrorist outfits, and criminals with international connections, is out to create disruption and instability throughout our country. The global wind of religious militancy has touched our country as well. It is a menace that the police need to tackle imaginatively, without compromising in any way our ideals of secularism, religious freedom, and communal harmony. We face other challenges to internal security as well. Left wing extremists are active over large tracts of our heartland sowing seeds of disaffection and violence. Caste and communal animosities between different groups of people continue to generate hatred and ill feeling, although we have succeeded in keeping them in check. While dealing firmly with extremist politics and violence, it is necessary to act in a fair and impartial manner in handling issues relating to social, economic, and political discord. The police has to take a holistic view of things in the discharge of its primary duty - that of maintaining law and order and upholding the rule of law throughout the country. I had on an earlier occasion stressed the need to provide a Bhay Mukt Samaj" - a society free of fear and insecurity. While reiterating this I would like to urge you to provide the required leadership and guidance to make the police an instrument of social security and strength. In this endeavor local police stations should work closely with local communities to promote an ethos of community policing. The man on the street should take pride in and feel confident of the police.

The police should be an object of pride of strength a reliable unbiased agency on which all citizens irrespective of their class or community can bank on. I have on numerous occasions stressed on the need for the police to adopt a sympathetic and helpful attitude towards the weaker sections of the society especially the women and their attempts to achieve economic and social empowerment. The police would have to come forward and guarantee protection and assistance in their struggle against powerful vested interests. The police should also pay constant attention to issues like implementation of laws prohibiting child labour and abuse, narcotics trade and drug abuse, female foeticide and child marriage.

The Government is committed to upholding the dignity and rights of the poorest of the poor the dalits and the under-privileged. In this endeavor I expect the police to play an active and constructive role. In my Independence Day address I had said that we shall review all those laws and procedures that allow government agencies to harass the poor. The police forces have a critical role in implementing this decision. A matter of serious concern for both the citizens and the Government is the low rate of conviction. According to the NCRB data only 16 percent of the cases were taken up for trial in 1999 out of which just about 6 percent of the cases ended in conviction. The low rate of conviction is the combined result of the poor quality of investigation procedural lapses sloppy prosecution and the entrenched infirmities in our criminal justice system. Laws however stringent will not have the desired deterrent value unless there is fear of getting caught and punished. The credibility of both the police and judicial fraternities is at stake if this worrisome situation continues. We have no dearth of honest and hard- working police officers. However the corrupt deeds of a few have given the police a bad name and lost them some of the trust of the public. This needs to change. Corruption in police forces at all levels must be countered firmly. Your actions must send a strong message to both serving policemen and to all citizens that you as the heads of the police will not tolerate any wrongdoing. A quick look at the agenda items listed for discussion during this conference has assured me that many of the issues I have touched upon would receive your attention. I am confident that you would be able to devise methods to make the police forces of the country an effective instrument for ensuring peace and security to our citizens. I look forward to a positive outcome of your conference".







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