'Cops treated like football'

Union home minister bats for revamping recruitment procedures

'Cops treated like football'

Home Minister P Chidambaram

“I still find old mindsets and old habits persist...(it has been a) failure of many state governments to constitute a Police Establishment Board that would decide transfers and postings.
It is a matter of deep regret that many police officers have been reduced to a football, to be kicked here and there,” he said inaugurating the three-day meet of DGPs/IGPs conference organised by the Intelligence Bureau. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will address the meet that would deliberate on internal security on Tuesday.

“State governments are unwilling –– or unable –– to revamp their recruitment procedures and make them quick, time-bound and transparent,” Chidambaram said, adding such a recruitment procedure was introduced in the Central paramilitary forces based on technology, objective assessment and transparency. The home minister questioned the DGPs over their silence in arbitrary postings made by the respective state governments.

“I ask you to search your hearts and answer the question what is the average length of tenure of a district superintendent of police? What is the average length of tenure of a station house officer?”, the minister said. Under Supreme Court directives, DGPs and field police officers are to have a minimum of two years’ fixed tenure. Not many state governments are inclined to carry out police reforms as per the court direction and the recommendations submitted by the Sorabjee panel on the police code.

Dwelling on terrorism, Chidambaram said Pakistan-based  terror groups like Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed have persisted in their attempts to launch terror attacks in the country even after the Mumbai terror strikes.

The  terror groups find support among “disgruntled elements” within India, the home minister said.

Speaking on Left-wing extremism, he said the Maoist groups have now pockets of influence in 20 of the 28 states in the country. In this context, Chidambaram said the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) remained the most potent Naxal group with presence in 17 states.

Chidambaram said the Maoists “have been keenly seeking ideological resonance and tactical understanding with the northeast insurgents and have begun to lend support to their secessionist ideology and demands.”   

In his address, for the first time, the minister categorically named terror groups based on the Pakistan soil and claimed that the Mumbai terror strikes led a “change” in New Delhi’s dealing with Pakistan. 

Chidambaram, who has just returned from a four-day visit to the US, said there would be “zero tolerance” to terror and the response to it would be “swift and decisive.”

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