It is also high time that the government thinks of bringing police in the Concurrent List. Police problems were simpler and of a local nature when the Constitution was framed. Since then, the pattern of crime and the dimensions of law and order problems have undergone a sea change.
The country’s internal security architecture continues to be fragile. In the wake of the 26/11 terrorist attack in 2008, a slew of measures were taken to strengthen the police forces, reinforce coastal security and decentralise the deployment of National Security Guard. However, after that, a complacency of sorts seems to have set in, mainly because there has been no major terrorist attack since then. Whatever upgradation of police has happened during the intervening period has essentially been of a cosmetic nature.
Meanwhile, terror clouds are gathering on the horizon and could burst upon the Subcontinent any time. The ISIS, which is committed to spreading “volcanoes of jihad” everywhere, recently perpetrated a horrific attack in Sri Lanka. The organisation has made significant inroads in Tamil Nadu and Kerala and has sympathisers in other areas of the country. It recently announced a separate branch, Wilayah-e-Hind, to focus on the Subcontinent. In the neighborhood, the ISIS has support bases in Bangladesh and Maldives. The government has been playing down the ISIS’s threat. It has been arguing that considering the huge Muslim population of the country, a very small percentage has been drawn to or got involved in the ISIS’s activities. That may be true, but a small percentage of a huge population works out to a significant number and it would be naïve to ignore the threat.
The police in every major state should have a force on the pattern of Greyhounds to deal with any terrorist attack. The country must also have a law on the lines of Maharashtra Control of Organised Crimes Act (MCOCA) to deal with organised crimes. Investigation of cyber-crime would require specialist staff. Training the constables and darogas for the job will not take us far. The police must draw recruits from the IITs for the purpose.
The National Counter-Terrorism Centre must be set up with such modifications as may be necessary to meet the legitimate objections of the states. The law to deal with terror — the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act — needs more teeth. Successive governments have only fiddled with the law. We have had the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA), followed by the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) followed by the present UAPA.
It is also high time that the government thinks of bringing police in the Concurrent List. Police problems were simpler and of a local nature when the Constitution was framed. Since then, the pattern of crime and the dimensions of law and order problems have undergone a sea change. Drugs trafficked from the Myanmar border traverse the Subcontinent and find their way to Europe or even the US. Arms are smuggled from China to India’s Northeast via Thailand and Bangladesh. They are then distributed to insurgent groups in different parts of the country.
States today are incapable of managing the slightest disruption in law and order. Central forces are deployed to assist the states round the year. Bringing police in the Concurrent List would only amount to giving de jure status to what prevails on the ground.
The CBI’s image needs to refurbished. It is time that an Act was legislated to define the charter and regulate the functioning of the premier investigating agency. It is ridiculous that the CBI draws its mandate from the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act of 1946 and that the organisation was created through a resolution passed more than 50 years ago.