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Business News/ Opinion / Quick Edit/  Reform policing

Reform policing

Outbreak of communal violence in Delhi region raises concerns over role of law enforcement; police forces need structural autonomy and revised incentives.

Broken glass and debris are strewn on a street as policemen patrol after communal clashes in Nuh in Haryana state, India, on Tuesday. (AP)Premium
Broken glass and debris are strewn on a street as policemen patrol after communal clashes in Nuh in Haryana state, India, on Tuesday. (AP)

This week began with an outbreak of communal violence on the outskirts of India’s national capital region. On Monday, a religious procession led by a Hindu right-wing outfit in a Muslim-populated area saw clashes erupt, with mob lawlessness spreading to streets in Gurugram barely 40km south of Parliament House, and a local mosque set ablaze late at night. As seen in multiple cases before, what stood out starkly was the role of law enforcers. A brazenly weak will displayed by the Haryana Police to do their duty left the force’s neutrality in doubt. Even in Manipur’s Imphal Valley, cops were alleged to have acted as political pawns. It’s about time the country had policing that can be trusted to go by the book. To enable this, police forces need structural autonomy. We must abandon a legacy of British rule that places them under political command. Revised incentives for law enforcement could lessen pre-poll mob violence. Top officers should be made answerable to legislative houses. But such a major reform would require the approval of Indian politicians, few of whom show an inclination for any shift that would reduce their power. Still, it’s a reform worthy of pursuit.

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Megha Nair
Megha Nair is a content creator in the Mint Views team. She edits oped pieces on the Views pages and drafts opinion pieces for the 'Quick Edit' and 'Our View' sections. While her work spans beats like energy, climate, science and technology, she is passionate about blockchain technology and occasionally dabbles in geopolitics too.
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Published: 01 Aug 2023, 11:57 PM IST
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