Role of state and police in wake of communal riots

?ROLE OF THE STATE AND POLICE IN THE WAKE OF COMMUNAL RIOTS In view of J. W. Garner, an important feature of the Sate is that “the body of inhabitants renders habitual obedience to the organized government. ” There are several institutions and agencies working meticulously round the clock to help the government achieve its objectives. Police and other law enforcement agencies are such instruments of the State. The State, police and the society are originally inter-linked. In any society, the legitimacy of police or its authority is drawn from the State, which in turn derives authority from the society itself.

The role of police has always been important in parliamentary form of democracies. In case of sensitive issues like communal riots they are not only responsible for maintaining law and order but also for bringing peace and harmony in the society. For the helpless victims of such riots they are the silver lining of their better life. Shockingly, seldom has been police seen in such role. There have been incidents which indicate that the riot perpetrators actually had the protection of police.

In some cases police remain as meek spectators instead of controlling the rioters who were killing innocent people before their eyes. Facts indicate that in controlling communal violence the role of police is not always fair to the minorities. Instances such as Operation Polo, which saw massacre on a scale of 27,000-40,000 in 1948, or the bloody aftermath of Babri Masjid demolition and the Godhra riots of 1992 and 2002 respectively, or the recent Muzaffarnagar riots, all incidents indicate failure of government and its machineries at all level.

Presence of political hands behind such riots cannot also be denied. The problem of failure of State and police in handling the communal riots is deep rooted. It may be a political factor or a social factor. The police needs to be sensitized and to develop confidence among themselves for the better service of the people. Police need not to succumb to the political pressure and they should be ready to bear any type of suffering which they might have to face in course of performing such duties.

The State should work to bridge the gap of caste system which has been the cause of social unrest in India since long. It can only be achieved by gaining the confidence of people. The court’s order may be a mere guideline for the police and the people but it cannot mitigate the differences cropped up in society. Taking of public into confidence is of supreme importance in foreseeing and preventing any kind of crime that involve some level of conspiracy. The research paper will be divided in four parts.

In the first part I will be dealing with the society, State and police and how they all are inter-linked. In the second part I will be dealing with certain communal riot incidents in India, the reasons behind such incidents highlighting the role of police and the State in such cases. The third part would be dealing with what is expected from the State and the police in incidents of communal violence. Lastly, I would be concluding with how far the State and police have succeeded in their role till now.