Violence in staging agitations and effective measures for security !

Taking most stringent action against violent demonstrators causing damage to national wealth is need of the hour !    

(Retd.) Brigadier Hemant Mahajan

‘Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 (CAA)’ is considered to be a significant Act passed in this country, post-independence period. Passing a law for mainly protection of minority Hindus from neighboring countries is a milestone in itself. In this situation, fanatic students of few universities, secularists, leftist parties, ‘tukade-tukade’ gang, city-naxalites etc are opposing to this Act as per their policy of appeasing Muslims or opposing Hindus. They have taken law in their hands and resorting to arson, vandalism in many cities all over the country. (Retd.) Brigadier Hemant Mahajan had written an article in 2017-18 giving guidance on effective ways to tackle such problems relevant to situation at that time, which is being published again with due thanks to him as it is most useful even in prevailing conditions.

Violent mob resorting to arson at Guwahati in Assam on 13th December opposing to CAA (courtesy: PTI) 

1. Police need to be empowered in better manner !

The most important duty of rulers is protection of ordinary citizens for which there is need to empower police department. Incidents of violence are rising since past few months in Maharashtra as well as all over the country. Most common preys of such violence are ordinary citizens, women, small children and senior citizens. They get caught in places where such vandalism is going on and fall prey to the situation. People who go out to work also fall prey to suddenly erupting violence; let it be at Bhima-Koregaon or Sambhajinagar or milk-movement, farmers’ movement and recently held agitations in connection with reservation issue of Marathas. These agitations have resulted in loss in billions through damage caused to government properties, to buses of State Transport Corporation, to private vehicle and to private properties. Damage caused to ST buses has actually most severe ill-effect on ordinary citizen’s life. ST buses are considered to be an important medium of transportation for poor and ordinary citizens. Such vandalism causes harm to even school-going children; affects people dependent on daily wages as they lose job so also money. Sick people cannot go to hospital or doctor. Those, who are travelling, are unable to get back home as roads are closed down. Closing down important roads leads to immense loss to local economy.

Violent mob pelting stones at police on 17th December in Silampur area of Delhi to oppose CAA (Courtesy: Roiters news agency)

2. Only ordinary citizens falling prey to violence !

Agitations were staged by ‘Patels- Patidars’ in Gujarat, by ‘Jat’ community in Haryana, by ‘Gujjars’ in Rajasthan. Ordinary citizens were killed and some were injured in those violent agitations. Public property was damaged on large scale and it was a setback to local economy; leading to inflation. Violent agitations should be considered as a type of terrorism.

Violence is not a solution to injustice caused to some section of society. Indian laws do not promote violence. Any kind of demand made by any community or organization to Government should be made within the framework of law; else strikes and violence lead only to nation’s loss.

3. Undue publicity given to violence

There is likelihood of increase in cases of violence and agitations during the period of elections. Such violence should be prevented to safeguard ordinary citizens. Many organizations and political parties were responsible for the violent incidents which occurred in past few days. TV channels, media, social websites, news agencies give undue publicity to violent agitations and same scene or photo is shown again and again. Why compilation of news related to such incidents is not done in few words rather than showing same clippings again and again, adding fuel to fire. News related to violence should be published on page 8 instead of page 1.

4. Violence for politics of vote-bank !

Police, political parties and rulers must have ability to handle violent incidents. Despite knowledge of persons responsible for causing violence, no effort is made to prevent such things. A line needs to be drawn for violent agitations and by crossing it as damage is caused to public and private properties, it is the duty of police and local government administrations to stop it immediately but everyone keeps mum for politics of votes.

5. Extension of security

5. A. Security of citizens and police: Agitators come together and that brings limitations on measures to control violence. Wherever there is violence, there is need to increase number of policemen and security forces. It will help in security of people on roads. There is also need to reduce VIP security and more number of policemen should be allocated for safety of people on roads. Police department has many administrative tasks and it should also be seen if they can be relieved of such duties.

5. B. Number of police needs to be increased! : There are about 2.5 lakh to 3 lakh retired policemen in Maharashtra. Why 50,000 to 60,000 competent police officers from them, who had done well in their career and those, who are physically and mentally fit, be engaged for some time ? Of course, they should be willing to work again in police department. Number of hawk-guards can be increased and their duties can also be increased by giving them special protection. Trained police can handle violence on roads, so why we cannot make use of experienced retired policemen?

5. C. Important contribution of Intelligence Dept in case of violence! : It is important to obtain information on violence for which it is necessary to increase manpower and improve competency of Intelligence Department. We can make use of capable retired intelligence officers for the same. There are many such intelligence organizations working in Jammu-Kashmir, North-East India and other parts of the country. Among them are Intelligence Department, ‘Research Analysis Wing i.e. RAW’, army intelligence dept and intelligence depts. of Revenue and Income Tax departments. All of them should meet once in a month and exchange information. Meetings of all Intelligence Depts. need to be held at State and District-levels for police officers to allocate jobs to Intelligence dept, for obtaining information required by them and for advance information on violent agitations etc. Such meetings should be held by Chief Ministers, Home Minister, Director of Police, district’s guardian minister etc. Technical Intelligence can keep watch on suspected rioters with the help of electronics. With such kind of measures, it will help in getting advance information on likely unrest and will make it easy to take preventive action.

5. D. Para-military forces and soldiers be deployed ! : There are training centres of CRPF and BSF in States. Para-military forces can also be deployed in case of need through Union Home Ministry. Violence should be immediately stopped by taking help of para-military forces and State Reserve Police Force. Number of police falls short as intensity of violence spreads all over States.

5. E. Action should be taken in time for controlling violence, instead of waiting for its spreading:  There are military cantonments in State like at Mumbai, Pune, Bhusaval, Sambhajinagar, Nashik etc. Army can be used when violence takes serious turn. It has been used many times in the country for maintaining law and order. State police of Haryana and Rajasthan could not stop violence during ‘Jat’ and ‘Gujjar’ agitations when army was called; so action should be taken in time for putting curb over violence instead of waiting for its taking serious form.

5. F. Latest technology should be made available! : It is necessary to make available latest technology to police for having control over rioters. Such technology is being used by Jammu-Kashmir police. It will help police to have control over rioters even without bursting tear-gas shells.

5. G. Curb has to be created over rioters : Courts should make it mandatory for agitating organizations to make good losses caused by them through agitations. It will help to prevent violence and loss in future. Cases against rioters should be heard in fast-track courts and agitators should be punished so as to create awe in them towards law. Social media and channels should not give importance to violence while compiling news. Many organizations extend financial help for such violent agitations. Action should also be taken against them. As NIA has imposed financial restrictions on Hurriyat Conference, similar financial curb should be imposed over even agitators.

6. Responsibilities of local citizens with regard to violence !

Local citizens should be given a toll-free number so that they can speedily convey intelligence data to police and their names should not be disclosed. Violent incidents should be recorded with help of cell-phones and sent to police as that will help police in nabbing violent agitators. Violent agitators use different ‘modus operandi’ for staging such agitations. Police should be one step ahead of them to stop violence. Local citizens should therefore, become ‘ears and eyes’ of police. Hence all encompassing measures are required to be taken to stop violent agitations.

–  (Retd.) Brigadier Hemant Mahajan, Pune (Year-2018)

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