Movement for People’s Police – Launch at IIC on Sep 22, 2012

A function was held at the India International Centre on September 22, 2012 to mark the launch of the Movement for People’s Police. It was attended by representatives of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), Common Cause, Foundation for Restoration of National Values (FRNV) and India Rejuvenation Initiative – all very reputed NGOs. The Association of Retired Senior IPS Officers (ARSIPSO) had also sent representatives. There were senior retired police officers, a couple of serving officers, lawyers, activists, students from Lady Shriram College, one social scientist and quite a few journalists, both from the print and electronic media. Shri Fali S. Nariman, noted Constitutional jurist, presided over the deliberations. The total gathering was about 35/40.

Prakash Singh gave the opening remarks. Explaining the background of the movement, he said that they had struggled for sixteen years through the judiciary and though the results were significant, there had not been much change at the ground level. Some states had given affidavits of compliance without introducing any changes at the ground level. The majority of states had taken very half-hearted measures just to avoid judicial displeasure. About 12 states had passed laws with a view to circumventing the implementation of Supreme Court’s directions. Under the circumstances, it was felt that unless there is a popular demand for reforming and restructuring the police, it was unlikely that the governments would listen. It was, therefore, decided to go to the people. It won’t be easy and it would be a long haul, but the effort has to be made. Besides, there was an impression, wrong though, that the Supreme Court’s directions were essentially officer-centric. It was necessary that the agenda had items which concerned the subordinate ranks and also items which the common man should think would benefit him. The reforms had therefore to be repackaged.

It was decided that we should call it a Movement for People’s Police and give it a Ten-Point agenda which would include items for the benefit and well being of the subordinate ranks as well as the common man.

Maja Daruwala, Director, CHRI emphasized that the police must have a vision and that what is today a force should transform itself into a service. The police should also reflect the diversity and plurality of Indian society. Policemen’s behaviour towards the common man must change and its officers should not succumb to pressures from above. She also called upon the organized groups to prepare a list of what all could be done to take the movement to the people.

Kamal Jaswal, Director, Common Cause said that implementation of Supreme Court’s directions were necessary, but not sufficient. What was more important was the satisfaction of the people. He was of the view that unless people have a say in judging the performance of police officers, there was no possibility of a mass movement.

Prashant Bhushan, Advocate expressed his happiness over launch of movement for People’s Police. He said that the police must become an instrument of service to the people. It was also necessary that there was direct accountability to the people.

B.G. Varghese, distinguished journalist, said that the message of People’s Police must be spread and that the Ten-Points should be sent to the Prime Minister and the Chief Ministers of states. He emphasized that systemic reforms in the police were absolutely essential and that unless that was done, it would be difficult to sustain the momentum of economic progress.

Bharat Wakhlu of Foundation for Restoration of National Values (FRNV) expressed his full support to the movement.

There were interventions from the invitees. Keki Daruwala deplored that the policemen showed bias against the minorities. Y.S. Jafa stressed the need of good police leaders. N.K. Singh observed that Bihar had moved in the reverse direction and stated that it was necessary to convince the political class that the movement was in their interest. B.L. Vohra wondered how the matter could be pursued in the Supreme Court and also wanted to know what message could be given to the students. B.S. Sial regretted the minimal contribution of police officers to the cause of reforms. Ajai Mehra, a social scientist, agreed that we should have a democratic police but deplored that there was no constituency for police reforms.

Fali Nariman expressed his happiness to be among so many heroes and said that it was an excellent movement. He emphasized that we should have a short-term and a long-term plan. In the short-term, we should “lower our sights” and concentrate on a small area, say Delhi, which should be so improved in policing so that it becomes a model for other states. In the long-term, police reforms will have to be tied with electoral reforms. Nariman formally inaugurated the website: http://www.peoplepolicemovement.com/.

Pankaj Kumar Singh gave the vote of thanks.

Core Group

It was decided to constitute a Core Group to give push to the Movement.

State Coordinators

The following State Coordinators have already started functioning:

Andhra Pradesh: Kamal Kumar
Delhi: NK Shinghal
Karnataka: Ajay Kumar Singh
Madhya Pradesh: Swaraj Puri
Maharashtra: Satish Sawhney
Tamilnadu: S. Balaji
Uttarakhand: Aloke Lal

2013

A number of events were organised from September 20 to 30, 2013 to spread the message of Police Reforms.

1. About 20,000 pamphlets were printed and sent to most of the State capitals for distribution among the people, especially the youth and intelligentsia.(CIPSA and CRPF helped in the distribution of these pamphlets.)

2. A Rally was taken out in Bhopal on Sept 22. It was attended byabout 1000/2000 people.

3. An impressive Rally in support of Police Reforms was taken out in Lucknow on Sep 25, 2013. About 2,500 boys/girls of the University and Colleges participated. The rally started from the Varsity Union building, marchedthru Hazratganj, the heart of the City, and terminated near Mahatma Gandhi's statue opposite the GPO.Distinguished citizens present in the rally included two retired judges,Justice KamleshwarNath and Justice SC Verma. About 100 placard were carried by the participants. These read: " We wantPeople's Police, Not Rulers' Police", "Implement Police Reforms", "SupremeCourt Directions are for Good Policing", "Police Badlo, SamajBadlo" etc.Slogans "Police SudharLaguKaro", "Supreme Court KaMaanKaro - MaanKaro"were also raised. City magistrate met us at the GPO and accepted the Memorandum addressed to the CM.In the afternoon, a press conference was held at the Press Club. I spoke onthe significance of the Police Reforms Day, the need and relevance ofPolice Reforms, and stressed that Muzaffarnagar Riots would not haveescalated if the Sate Govt had honestly implemented Police Reforms. TheRally and the press conference were covered by the print and electronicmedia. Photographs of the rally are attached.

4. NDTV highlighted the need of Police Reforms in their programme 'We the People' on Sunday (Sep 22).
It was anchored by BarkaDutt. I participated in the Debate.

5. Articles on Police Reforms appeared inThe New Indian Express and DainikJagaranand some other papers/ journals.

2014

SATYAMEV JAYATE programme of Aamir Khan Productions was broadcast on March 9, 2014. It focused on Police Reforms. The participants included Prakash Singh, Jacob Punnoose, Abhinav Kumar and others. The full programme may be seen at :

http://www.startv.in/episodes/satyamev-jayate-season-2--episode-2--police/61749

An abridged version is attached herewith.