Sunday 23 June 2013

Uttarakhand Youth ! Please Don't become too critical of Uttarakhand Police!

Written by Anil Singh

The articles published here are for logical people. Those people who think before speaking and complaining. And youth, who appears in competitive exams or aspires to achieve his/her goals in life -- mostly reads, responds and spreads articles published here. That's why we seldom cared for ever bickering, ever complaining readership. If you can't think logically, you can go to some other website.

That said, I today read about a Bhagvat Katha Vachak criticize Police's role in Uttarakhand relief Effort. The moment he disembarked the helicopter at Dehradun, he gave a statement to sound bite hungry TV channels. The statement was too critical of Uttarakhand Police and; All Praise of Army and paramilitary.

Before going further, let I tell you what his statement actually points to.

1) He's doing his Marketing 
2) He's trying to show himself quite intelligent   
3) When in the Hills, chances are that he may have used his influence to get to helicopter earlier than others.
4) While stuck in hills, he may be in a better position compared to others.
5) He wants to show the Government in bad light

Why I assume the five points above? Because he's unnecessarily getting critical of Uttarakhand Police. He's unnecessarily getting gaga about Indian Army and Paramilitary Forces. His behaviour mimics that of cricketer Harbhajan Singh, who cleverly eked out  of Joshimath, and later in order to disguise his selfishness, went all out in praise of Indian Army.

Why it's wrong to become critical of Uttarakhand Police?

At times of such disasters, Indian police appears clueless. They don't know where to direct people to, where food will be available, where shelter will be available etc. They are also incapable of rescuing people or providing much needed help. In short, Indian police appears to be waiting for directions from their Officers. And this has NOTHING to do with their laziness. It has to do with: Police Training, Resources at their disposal and who is at command.

Let I give you an example. Suppose a landslide destroys a 1 km section of a Hill road.  Crushing people and vehicles under it. Someone calls the police. Police reaches the spot. And doesn't do anything. It becomes a mere spectator.

Should we blame the police? I think NO.

Why? As for rescue effort, one needs the resources. For instance, you can't rescue a single person from a 100 feet ditch, if you don't have proper mountain climbing equipment. You can't clean and rebuild even a 10 m section of a road if you don't have bulldozers and cranes. That apart, if Police are not trained enough and made fit enough to work in extreme conditions; they are no different from you and I.

In the latest Uttarakhand Relief effort, a couple of Helicopters are rescuing the stuck people. These belong to Army and private companies. This sidelines the Police, as they don't have any such equipment. Any logical person can easily understand, what getting sidelined actually means. It means not being in command. In contrast, every country we compare our rescue efforts with, have hundreds of helicopters in their city police departments.

It's not good to be too critical of Police in these rescue efforts. Normally Army and paramilitary forces conduct rescue efforts in India. When such disasters happen, they are either the top command (giving orders), or their position makes them the top command. District administration and Police leave their authority to the Army. The Army and Paramilitary Forces are given the opportunity as they are better trained and resource rich (equipment wise -- helicopters, bull dozers, cranes, foot bridges, tents etc.) for such eventualities. One of the most vivid display of this change of command is on the Police Constable you see in such areas. He/she appears sitting idle, with nothing to do. But this is expected, as his officers are not in command. Hence, he has no one to listen orders from.

What can be the Solution:

1) Train Police such that they have good degree of fitness.
2) Decrease their Duty Hours. This means doubling or Tripling Police Force.
3) Make Police the primary agency for Rescue. This means giving them Helicopters, equipments, temporary ladders, makeshift bridges etc. The same ways we put fire tenders under police. It takes one or two days for Army to reach the rescue sites, Local police if equipped and trained well, can do so within hours.

You may be wondering, why the list doesn't contain "making Police sensitive to People" or make police "People Friendly". The reason is: The moment you equip police better, they automatically become People Friendly. Why? As the adage goes: Only a person who feels safe of self, can make the other person feel safe.

1 constructive comments:

  • Ram says:
    23 June 2013 at 15:10

    Very correctly mentioned, what can police department do without proper training and equipments during emergencies similar to what uttarakhand is undergoing right now. Amar Ujala today(23 June, 2013) mentions that requirement for Victim Imaging (Thermal Imaging) Camera has been sent to Administration through the Police Department several times in last three years. But it has not yet been bought because the government says that it does not have enough budget. This camera is capable of locating the people who are trapped in the jungles or under the debris. Equipments like this are very useful for natural calamities. Government should try to make the Police department more capable in such situations by giving such help to the department.