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Friday, November 09, 2012

Communal riots in Uttar Pradesh: Transferring officers not enough, take tough action against bureaucrats who fail to control law-and-order

The first seven months of Samajwadi Party (SP) government has seen nearly half-a-dozen communal riots. Naturally comparison with the nearly riot-free BSP regime are inevitable.

To Mayawati's credit, communal elements were reined in during the five years she was in power at Lucknow.

After Congress was shunted from UP in late eighties, the SP governments were known for being tough on communal elements.

We still remember, how when a riot had begun during an earlier SP stint, helicopter was sent to bring back officers and their replacements were sent. But the present regime has failed to control riots. One after the other, there are communal conflagrations.

In Faizabad riot, it took 12 days for government to take action and shift DM and SSP. But is this enough? Why is the government not stern enough on bureaucracy. Fact-finding commissions reports suggest that violence was pre-planned.

Similarly, you will find Rihai Manch's Mr Rajeev Yadav's observations here in The Hindu's report. Even as there were inputs about impending trouble and even when rioters gathered, police hadn't taken action and remained mute spectators.

FIRSTLY, it's clear that no riot can occur if the district administration and police are really serious about maintaining law-and-order. There can be an exception. But generally, it is not possible.

Secondly, bureaucrats must be made accountable. They should be punished if they fail in their job. Why actions are not taken on middle-level officers. Why top officers are just shifted [a euphemism for transfer] or given a new posting?

1. Accountability must be fixed immediately. Transfer is no punishment. There should be immediate suspension.

2. Don't give a posting to tainted officers or those with poor record in any department for at least six months or year. This will send a strong message to the bureaucracy.

3. Suspensions in police are a sham. They are revoked a few months later. This shouldn't happen.

4. If the IAS officers who are in-charge, have failed to take stock of situation properly and are unable to run the district efficiently, it should reflect in their ACR. Once it starts getting into Annual Confidential Report, they will learn the lessons.

After all, DMs who basically have the responsibility of district, shun law-and-order part totally to SSPs or SPs for convenience sake. Forget checking corruption or implementing schemes, if you can't keep law-and-order, you are good for nothing. Such officers must get the boot.

5.  It is common knowledge that a tough administration can't allow riot to take place. Cops know troublemakers of their area of jurisdiction and when they know the message is not to let anything happen, nothing happens. Intelligence wings at all levels also collect information and send regular inputs. Troublemakers sense the gravity of situation.

They know when its safe to do a bit of rowdy acts or when even going out would lead to action under tough acts. But if there is a loose command, then it shows through the hierarchy. Citizens also sense that rumours are floated regularly and situation is not behind handled well because the officers are lax. 

In the light of above points, UP government must take serious steps to improve law-and-order, which is important not just for citizens but also for the overall image of the SP government.

First, Kosi Kalan in Mathura, then Asthan (Pratapgarh), followed by Barelli, Masuri town in Ghaziabad, Allahabad and now the latest is Faizabad.

Clearly, there is a pattern. Someone is responsible and if there is mischief, why local intelligence, police, administration fail to anticipate.

When it is openly said by top SP leaders that there is a conspiracy, why there is no action on conspirators.

DGP had also made a comment that his sub-ordinates didn't listen. Isn't it all an indication of the lapses that are occurring repeatedly.

Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav said that there are attempts to discredit the government. If it is true, then those who are responsible for these acts, should be caught. Law-and-order must be top priority.

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