Amritsar firing exposes Badal’s claim of Punjab being the safest
Wednesday, April, 03 2013 - 11:08
By Jagtar Singh-
CHANDIGARH: It was not without an element of iron that Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal made the tall claim of Punjab being the safest state on April 1 when an Assistant Sub-inspector of Police had been shot near Jalandhar.
The yesterday’s incident of firing on the police by anti-social elements and the recovery of weapons further expose the hollowness of this claim of the Chief Minister. Something seriously seems to have gone wrong in the handling of the police administration.The police administration is directly under the command of dynamic Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal who is credited with modern outlook and thinks years ahead.
The present model of police functioning is also attributed to his style of functioning.The Punjab police was a force that used to be feared though at the same time that system was also under attack for excesses and human rights violations.
With the killing of four police officials in the state over a period of few months, that image stands shattered as a new section seems to have emerge in the state which has no fear of the law and order machinery. Such a situation normally develops only when there is political patronage to such elements, direct or indirect.
In accordance with the present informal model, the police functioning at the lower level has virtually come under the control of the Akali leaders as the police stations even refuse to register complaints without getting clearance from the local leaders. The postings and transfers of the police officials are at the whims of these leaders.
Of course, a new system has been introduced under the police reforms recommended by the administrative reforms commission. The normal chain of command does not seem to be working with the senior officials having little say or control over even routine affairs in the administration. This has wrecked the system though it might have yielded political dividends.Those who are in the know of the system maintain that the chain of command would have to be restored along with the powers to the officials at the higher level.
Punjab is one state where even the state police chief would not dare to transfer a station house officer without getting political clearance.The first damage was done when the jurisdiction of the police sub-divisions were aligned with the Assembly constituency. It brought the police functioning under local political leaders.
The law and order situation has been on the decline since then.Drastic overhaul of the system along with end to political interference is the need of the hour to check further deterioration. This should be part of the agenda of the Goa conclave of the Akali Dal.