Addressing the joint sitting of Parliament after the recent Lok Sabha polls, President Pranab Mukherjee said the new government will ensure utmost vigil in the area of internal security. “A policy of zero tolerance towards terrorism, extremism, riots and crime will be pursued… A national plan will be chalked out in consultation with the state governments to effectively curb incidents of communal violence and the challenges posed by left wing extremism,” he said. One of the first actions taken by the new government was to appoint former Intelligence Bureau head and Kirti Chakra awardees Ajit Doval as the National Security Advisor (NSA), replacing former diplomat Shiv Shankar Menon. Considering that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is well aware of the external linkages to India’s internal security, his choice of Doval as the NSA and former Army Chief Gen VK Singh as Minister of State of External Affairs and Minister of state (independent charge) for North East Region, is indeed significant.
Whether it is Pakistan exported and controlled terrorism spread all over India’s interior, or China and Pakistan supporting terrorist groups in India’s North East (NE), or Naxal-Maoist terrorism, which is also being indirectly supported by China (and obviously by Pakistan’s operatives in NE), or communal violence, or rising crime/law and order problems/women’s security and importantly, coastal/coastline security, the major banes are India’s very low policeman to population ratio, police modernization and training. As per the VII Schedule to the Constitution of India ‘Police’ and ‘law and order’ are State subjects. Therefore, the primary responsibility to decide about the composition of their police forces, as also modernizing and equipping them adequately, to face the challenges to internal security, is on the State Governments. The new regime will have to ensure implementation of police reforms, which include these banes, by all states and the same for Central Armed Police Forces.
In data compiled by Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D) the number of Police personnel per one lakh of population in India as on 1.1.2006, was 1:142.69. (142.69 Police Personnel for every 1 lakh population). As per a report prepared by the UN Division for Policy Analysis and Public Affairs available on the web site of United Nations released on 31st March, 2005, such ratio in some of the countries are like, Italy (559.0), Mexico (491.8), Saudi Arabia (386.5) and Belgium (357.5) which have much higher Police-Population ratio than India (136.4) during the year 2002 for every 1,00,000 (one hundred thousands) population.
The ‘actual’ strength of civil police, including district armed police in the country during 2012 stood at 129,8944 against the ‘sanctioned’ strength of 1,70,2290 .Thus, the civil police strength in position was 76.3% of the sanctioned strength and 237% of the posts were vacant. Maharashtra (1,70,990) has the highest actual strength of civil police accounting for 13.2% of the total civil police in the country followed by Uttar Pradesh 1,51,912 (11.7%). Delhi has the largest contingent of 68,024(85.4%) of the total police strength of 79,654 in the seven Union Territories. The actual’ strength of armed police in the country during 2012 was 3,75,811 showing a decline of 0.8% over 20 11(from 3,78,834 in 2011) whereas the ‘sanctioned’ strength was 4,62,026.
The percentage of vacant posts in case of armed police was less (18.7%) as compared to that of civil police (23.7%). The proportion of actual armed police to actual civil police was 1:3.5. Assam had the highest contingent of armed police (36,112) followed by Uttar Pradesh (31,243), Jammu & Kashmir (28,086) and West Bengal (22,872). There was no sanctioned post of armed police for the UTs of Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu and Lakshadweep. The strength of armed police was more than that of civil police only in six North -Eastern States of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, Sikkim and Tripura.
The actual strength of women civil police including district armed police at the national level was 85,462 against the sanctioned strength of 57,318.The proportion of actual ‘women civil police’ to the total ‘civil police’ was 1:15.2. The maximum strength of women civil police among the States is in Mahararashtra, which has only17,134 police women.
Over four years after the attack by Pakistani terrorists in Mumbai, in February 2013, it was reported that Maharashtra was still in the process of raising a full-fledged coastal police force and developing 4 small ports mainly for shipping, but which will also have facilities allocated for the Coastal police and the landing points along the shore will also get coastal police stations.
Following the Kargil 1999 war, a recommendation by the Group of Ministers to establish a coastal surveillance chain, was taken seriously only after the 26/11 terrorist attack. Out of the 9 coastal states and 4 coastal union territories, Maharashtra, which has had mixed successes in implementing coastal security, now plans to raise an exclusive coastal force instead of one comprising deputationists from the existing police setup. Coast Guard’s notification to the state government in 2011, that at least 3000 special officers will be required to guard 720 Kms of Maharashtra’s coastline has finally been implemented.
Interacting with this writer, IG, Coast Guard, West, SPS Basra, confirmed that during an exercise in April 2013, there was a quantum jump in the participation by civilian agencies, especially the coastal police, whose numbers had shot up from 1700 earlier to 3000. IG Basra informed that suitable instructions had been issued by Mumbai and Kochi Port Trusts for watching and informing about movements of all barges and boats. Basra cited the incident of MSV Yusufi, seized by the Coast Guard, of as a good example coordination and cooperation. Yusufi’s movement may well be an indication of the renewed efforts of the Mumbai’s under world with Dawood Ibrahim’s underlings which joined hands with Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) supported terrorists establishing their routes for delivering consignments. “If there is any iota of intelligence available the system will respond promptly”, said Basra.
Out of the 46 radar stations based on lighthouses (36 on main land and 10 in islands) located on the East Coast, West Coast, Lakshadweep and Minicoy (L&M) and Andaman and Nicobar (A&N) Islands, the progress is that barring 6 lighthouses in the L&M region which are near completion, 40 have been fitted with radars. In the next phase 38 more such radar stations have been planned of which the West Coast will have 18. Each lighthouse site will be linked to the nearest Coast Guard station, known as Remote Operating Stations (ROS), through a communication link. The ROS will further be linked to the Regional Operating Centres (ROC) at Coast Guard Regional headquarters located in Mumbai, Gandhinagar, Chennai and Port Blair. All ROCs will be connected to Control Centre (CC) headquarters at New Delhi.