Effective police, emergency management and internal security
Swarna Bharat Party’s internal security policies
These policies should be seen in the context of the broader reform agenda outlined in SBP’s manifesto. Free markets require strong and effective governance. Without governance reforms detailed in the manifesto, that will build capacity and honesty in the government machine, the policies detailed below will not deliver the expected results. [Download a Word version of this policy, here]
Strong families and caring communities are the most effective force in reducing crime and social afflictions. But even under the best circumstances, strong, well-trained law enforcement is necessary.
Law and order is a core function of government. Unfortunately, security is a distant dream in India today. Gangsterism, terrorism and bellicose fundamentalism are widespread. The illegal mandates of political criminals and criminal politicians override and dictate to the law and order machinery. Communalists and casteists have created an aura of legitimacy. Police has been subverted by corrupt recruitment, deployment on VIP security, and the well-documented criminal-politician nexus.
Citizens have the highest expectations of service, integrity and effectiveness from the Police, but today there is not much love lost between citizens and the police. The Police seem to owe no accountability to the people, and often behave like haughty foreign rulers of India. A strong effort has to be made to reform and modernise the police force.
The problem, as with all other broken governance systems in India, is not with the members of the police force, but with the systems they are placed in, and with the limited resources at their disposal. Criminals are usually better equipped than the police. Essential funding support for modernization and technology needs to be provided.
Police system reforms will, in many ways, resemble the reforms of the general bureaucracy. Policemen at senior levels will be recruited from the open market (some specialists could be recruited globally), with contractual appointments linked with performance. These officials would be empowered to appoint other members of the force, with significant independence in operations, but with total accountability for results.
Recommendations of the National Police Commission that are clearly compatible with liberty and which provide the right incentives will be implemented. Training will be significantly improved. These measures will raise the competence, responsiveness and morale of the Police.
We will significantly increase the size of the police force, increasing the police/population ratio over the course of ten years from the present 106 per lakh population to the UN-recommended 222.
Integrating our paramilitary forces with the police force is paramount for counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations. Training of a quality that is commensurate with the armed forces will also be imparted to the paramilitary forces. Paramilitary forces would also benefit by inducting the highly trained armed force manpower, as a second career option. As soon as such capability is established, we will stop the use of armed forces for internal security threats.
Intelligence is an important part of effective internal security. The Intelligence Bureau will be formalised and regulated to ensure the nation receives the best possible advice, while ensuring that the rights of Indian citizens are fully protected.
Other reforms include:
Prevention of natural and other large scale disasters, and ensuring recovery from such disasters is a core function of government. In doing so, we will not only ensure world-best practices are followed at each step, but special effort is taken to cater to the needs of the disabled (e.g. those unable to hear emergency sirens or take shelter without external assistance).
We will introduce a common emergency number for police and ambulance. People would be able to call this number during an emergency, and the helpline would record the call and send the right person (sometimes both police and ambulance).
We will come down heavily on individuals or organisations that advocate or use violence for any religious or political purpose. This includes organisations that provide armed self-defence training meant only for a specific group or community. Self-defence is relevant for the nation as a whole, so only the State will impart such training – through the NCC, Home Guards and other inclusive organisations. We do not tolerate the armed training of civilians by any non-State body (training such as unarmed martial arts is fine).
We are committed to peace and prosperity in J&K (which includes the people who lived there at the time of independence and now live in territory illegally occupied by Pakistan or China). We will review the Justice Jeevan Reddy Committee’s 2005 recommendation to replace the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act with a more humane approach, balancing security with human rights. On an urgent basis, we are committed to the return of all displaced persons, including Kashmiri Pandits, to their home, should they wish to return.
We believe that the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and are committed to abrogation of the Article 370 of the Constitution of India, which has created a dual layer of sovereignty within a single nation. It does not make any sense for Kashmiri Indians to be able to freely settle in any part of India, but for other Indians to not be able to do so in Kashmir. This reform will, however, be done in a manner which assures liberty to all Indians through a range of other reforms detailed elsewhere, and allows good governance to be established everywhere in India. Only after the rule of law along with equal opportunity has been brought to all Indians, will we request a recall of the J&K Constituent Assembly (as required by Article 370(3) of the Constitution) to consider this amendment. Without the goodwill and consent of the people of J&K, such an amendment will violate the spirit of democracy and liberty.
After a thorough review of the legal basis of the Aadhaar card, and after addressing any privacy or other issues that may arise, including potential misuse by government functionaries, we will ensure that each citizen receives a unique ID. This will help identify them for various transactions, such as for bank account or tax purposes, and also help track any government benefits (e.g. NIT-type) they may receive, thereby preventing identity fraud.
While the Aadhaar card is currently unrelated to the concept of citizenship, it should – in principle – not be issued to illegal migrants. We will build citizenship checks into the further development of Aadhaar, and discontinue it for non-citizens. We will study the feasibility of inter-generational biological markers (such as DNA) that can help eliminate any continuing illegal migration into India.
In general, it is desirable that government not involve itself in dealing with ancient monuments directly, which should be reverted to the people as private property under regulatory oversight. Where property rights are not strongly bound by the law, there are ongoing possibilities of such disputes.
Given the nature of this particular dispute, we believe that the matter of the Ayodhya temple is best left to the courts to decide.
Naxalites now have a substantial presence in over 140 districts, marking a continuous corridor from Nepal to Andhra Pradesh. The Naxalite issue is largely the consequence of underdevelopment and corruption of the Central and state governments. We will bring Naxalites back to the mainstream through guidance and incentives, including transparent explanation and negotiation. However, anyone who has indulged in robbery, destruction of property, assault, or been involved in killing will be brought to book: subject perhaps to a more nuanced approach, given Naxalism’s political motivations.
Special effort is needed to address the geographical isolation of North East India, through better transport and security. To the extent possible (within national security requirements), we will open the old Silk Route to Lhasa and jointly engage with Myanmar to build a world-class road to Yangon (formerly, Rangoon). This will enable the region to engage in trade with India’s neighbours and expand jobs and opportunities.
There is a strong and ongoing (albeit reduced) problem of illegal immigration from Bangladesh into the North East and other parts of India. The modus operandi of the immigrants is complex but can involve adopting the names of erstwhile local residents who have moved to other places, or died. It is extremely challenging to distinguish between genuine and fake records of name, ancestry and education on typed rice paper with rubber stamps, signed by people long dead. We will establish independent committees of citizens to assist the police in identifying illegal immigrants. The services of retired officials with relevant experience will be used. In doing so, however, it will be ensured that no citizen of India is harassed.