ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Repression and Waste

I thank Kashmir Singh “False Proposition” (EPW, 21 August 2010) for taking the trouble to respond to my short article. However, I am disappointed by its contents. He writes that my argument (in “False Proposition on the Strength of the Police Force”, EPW, 17 July 2010) is based on “inadequate research and irrelevant assumptions”. I would be the first one to agree with him had he proceeded to illustrate his contention. Instead, he leaves me confused because he actually repeats what I have said and endorses that “paramilitary forces have been often deployed to fight insurgents (as in J&K) ...for decades”. I pointed to the difference between shortterm and prolonged deployment, where the balance of power between civilian and security forces changes in the latter. He is also unaware of the irony when he cites J&K, which is a case of failure of military suppression and wastage of personnel and public funds, when more than 20 years of military offensive against the Kashmiri people has not won them over to acceptance of forced union with India. He also fi nds fault with me by stating that the “author admits that he is not clear” about whether the union home secretary meant civil or armed police when he spoke of vacancies and additional requirement, a total of eight lakhs (and not 3.5 lakhs that Kashmir Singh refers to) over the next five years.

My caution can hardly be an argument against me. The reason for my hesitation was because civil police recruitment is not the constitutional responsibility of the union government, which only raises paramilitary forces under the mistaken title of “police”, but of the states. It is also my experience that each time the security forces suffer casualties at the hands of insurgents/ rebels, there is a clamour for augmenting their strength. Not once has the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) contested this “assumption”. Indeed, it puts out statements referring to the UN benchmark so as to suggest that there is a deliberate mixing up of the issue of civil police shortage with augmentation of armed police. Therefore, if I am wrong in being unclear as to what the union home secretary meant, all that was needed to be done was to provide a break-up of state-wise recruitment of the eight lakhs personnel over fi ve years which will make evident how many are being recruited by each state and under which category. This information is, regrettably, not available in the public domain.

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