Islamic Terrorism in India

Most Muslims are not terrorists, but most terrorists are Muslims

A tribute to Indian police fighting the scourge of Islamic terrorism

Posted by jagoindia on September 23, 2008

Ways of tribute
The Indian Express
Posted: Sep 22, 2008
The funeral of Mohan Chand Sharma, the Delhi police officer killed in an encounter with the men accused of setting off bombs in Ahmedabad and Delhi, might well have marked a watershed moment in India’s history with its police force. There has been a visible outpouring of public emotion; ordinary people, not just police officers, turned out as a mark of respect to someone who all can agree dedicated his career, and gave his life, to stopping terrorism and militancy from impacting our lives. We have seen public mourning for military heroes, for political leaders; but never before has a policeman ignited similar sentiment.

Our police, in the capital and elsewhere, have a hard job to do. Lost in the discussion over laws and high-powered agencies is the fact that, in the end, even the greatest law and order threats are usually stopped or broken up by old-fashioned policing, by unheralded constables and sub-inspectors. They serve as the frontline of the nation’s effort against terror, and they frequently have to suffer both being overlooked by policy, and sometimes, the active contempt of their fellow Government servants. Consider the sixth pay commission, which categorised beat constables with “unskilled workers”. To think that normal, beat policing — not only the public face of the force, but, ideally, the most useful and first source for human intelligence — does not require skill is shocking but sadly not surprising.

The Delhi Police has over the years been at the frontline in tackling terrorism. But like police forces under threat across the country, it is under-funded, under-staffed, and underestimated. The beat constable, on whose observation Delhi depends for protection against unconventional threats, makes Rs 8000 a month. They get a conveyance allowance of Rs 30 — and it’s suggested that they use a bicycle. Problems extend to decision-making ranks — recent batches of sub-inspectors have seen unprecedented levels of attrition, sometimes nearing half the intake. The Centre can create as many more vacancies as it pleases; but four thousand posts already lie vacant, and recruiters despair of filling those to begin with. Working conditions and enabling training too require a relook. Perhaps the public grief and introspection surrounding Inspector Sharma’s death on duty will help make their job, and the job of those who eventually fill those posts, easier.

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