By Smita Nair
July 17, 2014
In what is perhaps the first admission of its kind, the police have concluded that there is a trust deficit among Muslims, who see them as “communal, biased and insensitive…. ill-informed, corrupt and lacking professionalism”.
A report, “Strategy for making police forces more sensitive towards minority sections”, prepared by three DGPs — Sanjeev Dayal of Maharashtra, Deoraj Nagar of Uttar Pradesh and K Ramanujam of Tamil Nadu — along with an Intelligence Bureau representative, says that the distrust comes from poor representation of minorities in the forces and the conduct of some policemen during riots.
“Poor representation of the minorities in the police forces has contributed to this distrust and suspicion. It has to be admitted that the conduct of some members of the police forces in various states during communal riots had only served to strengthen and heighten these suspicions and distrust in the minority communities,” it says.
Saying that Muslims form the largest minority, constituting “a vocal and large section of the population” in most states, the report calls for urgent correction of the perception in the community about the police as it “impinges on the communal situation of the country and thus its internal security”.
Presented at the 2013 DGs’ conference in New Delhi, the report is currently with the Central government, awaiting action. It is primarily aimed at providing the framework for a Standard Operating Procedure to prevent communal riots.
It also wants a Community Policing Plan by all states, which should be internalised and become a SOP.
The report recommends training as an important part in bringing “attitudinal changes in the police at all ranks”. Recommending several steps, including outreach programmes and forming specialised wings to combat rumours and instigation through social media, it says the first move should be to break the bias within.
“As a first step it is very necessary for the police leadership to admit that the problem exists and acknowledge that there is a need for correction within us,” it says. “We cannot afford to lose time in correcting the perception as the present perception is adversely affecting several vital aspects of policing, including combating terror, and thus maintaining the internal security of the country.”
Along with the corrective measures in training and policing, the report suggests setting two important wings across all the states. It recommends creation of a specialised cyber wing, just to track rumours and misuse of social media to “instigate communal emotions”. The wing, the report says, should be under the \government’s cyber security arm CERT, with state police forces taking decisions on training and its working.
Another wing, which the group recommends, is a professional public relations unit to deal with dissemination of information about sensitive law and order issues.
The report through various episodes outlines the need to develop an early warning system, which will look into communal tension, and also pick on communal elements. Calling for a non-discriminatory SOP to handle communal riots, the report specifically says “only trusted and tested police officers, who have earned the trust of the community, should be placed in communally sensitive places”.
Along with SOP is a comprehensive monitoring system, through which “rabid elements” in all religions are constantly monitored, and their speeches and agitation videographed and recorded. The report also suggests the need for a “legal machinery” to prevent the movement and visits of such elements to communally charged places. The police currently only have the Indian Penal Code to stop people from unlawful assembly, which officials feel is insufficient.
The report also suggests special laws to check activities of fundamentalist groups. “Tamil Nadu has enacted amendments to its law to ban drills with or without arms particularly when wearing uniform or dress which can create confusion that such groups are members of police or paramilitary or armed forces of the Union,” the report says.
It also calls for each state government to look for mechanisms to check on funding by religious groups which can be misused, and also create special courts to look at communal riots.
DGPs’ Report Blames All Arms Of Govt For Ignoring Minorities
By Smita Nair
July 18, 2014
Suggesting urgent interventions in urban policies on public housing, education, health and civic amenities, a group of DGPs comprising Sanjeev Dayal of Maharashtra, Deoraj Nagar of UP and K Ramanujam of Tamil Nadu has pointed out that law and order as well as peace in the country depends on whether or not minorities feel the “benefits of economic growth are flowing to them equally” so they “do not feel left out of the mainstream”.
A report prepared by the three DGPs — “Strategy for making police forces more sensitive towards minority sections” — was presented at the 2013 DGs’ conference in New Delhi, and is currently with the Centre, awaiting action.
The report suggested various arms of the government were equally responsible for a “feeling of loss of dignity” among minorities. Apart from the police, other agencies were also lacking in social management skills, it said.
The report looked into surveys and interviews to conclude different arms of the government need to introspect for a good social environment.
The committee found the most common complaints police hear from minorities are regarding lack of civic amenities such as drinking water and an effective sewage system. It said a divide is created when minorities believe basic amenities are denied to their localities due to the bias of municipal workers. “Such an attitude adds to tension between communities,” it said.
“Providing them (amenities) on the same scale as the rest of the community by officers of local bodies could help build bridges and mainstream minorities,” the report said.
The committee also said minority communities face hurdles in finding a good home. To check this, it suggested mixed housing on the lines of the practice abroad and “intervention by law to ensure housing for minorities”.
“Rich and famous Muslims from Mumbai have complained they are unable to get houses on rent or ownership in private housing co-operatives. This has resulted in minorities living in closed ghettos… Majority community finds exclusive housing on the other side. Common interaction opportunities are lost and traditional bonds come under stress. Such a situation tends to encourage fundamentalist and even extremist thought to grow and prosper,” it said.
The committee said the Revenue Department is the first agency that needs to be inclusive. “Title to land, clearing unauthorised trespassing or grabbing of land by others, registering for jobs under various schemes, granting loans, scholarships and benefits under various schemes, providing aid for self employment and providing aid after disasters are some of the fields in which benevolence of the Revenue authorities is essential,” it said.
According to the summary on health, it said that in Malegaon, it took a bomb blast to highlight “the basic lack of (health) facility”, after which a hospital was announced. In its suggestion, the panel said dispensaries, maternity homes and hospitals within easy reach of the community would “go a long way in assuring them that the authorities are mindful of their needs and sensitive to their requirements”.
Corporates Also Made No Positive Effort: Report
The report was equally harsh on corporates and said they have not made any effort to bring Muslims to the mainstream. “In absence of any directive or law mandating a portion of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds to spend on confidence building measures (CBMs) among the minorities, corporates do not consider such expense to be in their interest. Corporates prefer spending CSR funds and effort in activity which helps build “brand image” of their products and CBMs do not count among them. However, such efforts are worth making as CBMs are of importance as things stand today,” the report said.
Minority Schemes List No Beneficiary in Many States
By Abantika Ghosh
July 20, 2014
Eight years after the Centre launched the Prime Minister’s 15-point programme for welfare of minorities; some of the key schemes are yet to see the desired results, with many states/ union territories listing zero beneficiaries.
Citing data on the allocation of funds by the National Minorities Development and Finance Corporation (NMDFC), the ministry has told parliament that as many as nine states/ union territories did not provide assistance to any minority entrepreneurs in 2013-14 under the term loan scheme. This is a part of the 15-point programme.
Under the term loan scheme, NMDFC disburses loans through designated state channelling agencies to support self employment and for income generation projects of up to Rs 10 lakh. Loans covering up to 90 per cent of the project cost are given at an interest rate of 6 per cent per annum. The nine states/UTs that did not give any term loans are Bihar, Chandigarh, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Orissa and Tripura.
Data for the last three years also shows that many states are irregular in doling out money for self-help groups, especially to minority women, also funded by the NMFDC. In 2013-14, no loans were granted under the microfinance scheme in Assam, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Maharashtra and Orissa.
Over the last three years, Gujarat granted loans under this scheme only in 2012-13, to 89 people. In contrast, Tamil Nadu gave loans to 14,666 people and West Bengal to 44,889 people under the scheme in the same year.
In 2013-14, 15 states/ union territories listed zero beneficiaries under the free coaching and allied scheme for minority students. Under this scheme, assistance is provided to candidates belonging to minority communities who are appearing for competitive examinations — for government service, private sector or admissions to reputed institutes. The 15 states/ union territories are Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Orissa, Punjab, Sikkim, Tripura, Lakshadweep and Pondicherry.
The data for urban employment of minorities is equally dismal. In 2013-14, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan did not give employment to anybody under the Swarn Jayanti Shahri Rozgar Yojana, which is also a part of the 15-point programme, though they had to meet a target of 1,004 and 915 beneficiaries respectively.
In yet another scheme under the programme, the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, 13 states/ union territories did not sanction any projects last year for towns/ cities having a substantial minority population. These are
Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, Goa, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Pondicherry, Sikkim, Tripura and Mizoram.
9 states/ UTs did not give any loans under term loan scheme
6 states/ UTs did not give any loans under microfinance scheme
15 states/ UTs did not enrol anyone for free coaching/ allied scheme
2 states/ UTs did not grant any employment under Swarn Jayanti Shahri Rozgar Yojana
13 states/ UTs did not sanction any JNNURM projects for minority areas
* Figures for 2013-14Source: http://indianexpress.com/article/india/maharashtra/muslims-think-we-are-communal-corrupt-police/99/