New Delhi: Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh Friday urged the police forces to
"honestly discharge their duties" and function within the
democratic framework to "scrupulously respect and uphold" civil
"Our country currently witnessed an outpouring of public anger
against corruption. Life in the service of the people of India is
a noble calling, particularly for those charged with the
responsibility of lives and security of citizens," Manmohan Singh
said at the all India conference of the directors general and
inspectors general of police here.
"People who enlist themselves for such a cause must, therefore,
take pride in their ability to honestly discharge their duties."
Though he did not name the anti-graft movement of Anna Hazare, who
sat on a 12-day fast at Ramlila Maidan in the capital in August
demanding a strong Lokpal bill, his reference to the
anti-corruption protest was more than an indication.
"Crowd control techniques in a democracy, where people often
rigorously vent their opinions and sometimes their frustrations,
have to strike a fine balance between the requirement to maintain
law and order and the imperative of using absolutely minimum
non-lethal force," he said.
Noting that the Jammu and Kashmir Police, which had to deal with
stone-pelting by protesters last summer, had improved their
capabilities considerably in this regard, the prime minister said:
"We need to keep looking at newer methods and methodologies and
technologies of handling demonstrations."
Reiterating his call made at the recent National Integration
Council meeting against perceived biases, sometimes, of the law
enforcement and investigation agencies against minorities, Singh
said the existence of such a perception "is inimical to effective
policing", which must necessarily draw upon the confidence and
cooperation of all sections of the population it served.
"I would like you to consider ways and means to deal with the
causes of such perception wherever they exist," he appealed.
Manmohan Singh said these were "difficult and challenging times"
for the country's security forces.
"Our social fabric continues to be targeted by organised
terrorism, abetted by misguided zeal and false propaganda among
the youth and the marginalised sections of society," he said.
Manmohna Singh noted that the security forces had to contend with
Left-wing militancy, parochial and chauvinistic movements, and
tensions caused by social-economic imbalances and inequity, and
also by rapid urbanisation.
"Policing the metropolitan areas, the control of organised of
crime and the protection of women and the elderly require special
attention," he said.
"While dealing firmly with these challenges, our police forces
must function within the bounds of a democratic framework, within
which the democratic rights of our people are scrupulously
respected and upheld. I am sure that if our forces are led ably
and guided properly, they will find themselves more than equal to
the task, daunting though they are," he added.