Fed up of state police, CM’s adviser may quit
Jharkhand’s first-ever security adviser has lambasted the state police saying senior officers weren’t taking their job seriously as they were too busy finding fault, his criticism coming at a time when Maoists have stepped up violence after a prolonged lull.
D.N. Gautam was appointed by chief minister Arjun Munda in January to inspire the security forces with ideas on combating the rebels. But the former DGP of Bihar seems to have had enough, indicating his frustration may lead him to resign.
“I hold meetings with the senior officers every Thursday and discuss issues related to law and order. But they often overlook my advice. They don’t introspect but simply point out mistakes of others,” he said in an exclusive interview to The Telegraph.
Complaining that the seniors weren’t taking their job seriously, Gautam, however, clarified he had nothing against the state government though there was an inherent problem in the terms of reference of his appointment.
“I have been appointed by an executive order, while the police establishment happens to be a statutory body working under the provisions of IPC and CrPC. Therefore, I cannot order them. It is through persuasion that I can get things done.”
Administrative matters apart, Gautam was most upset at the way Maoist violence had suddenly raised its head in the last few weeks. “Maoist related incidents have not happened suddenly. When there are intensely competing forces in the area, such incidents have to happen. Someone or the other will try to get an upper hand. All that was needed was to hold a thorough probe and take corrective measures whenever such events take place.”
He said the police establishment should have undertaken a thorough investigation into the killings of corporate representatives — two engineers of Abhijeet Group in Latehar and a senior Reliance official in Chatra.
“These were just advertising shots before the main incidents,” he said, referring to the recent deaths in Lohardaga and Gumla.
“The killing of 11 security personnel in Lohardaga was painful. One has to answer how we are leading the force. The leadership has to introspect,” Gautam said.
Also, he was against describing the Gumla killings — nine persons died in factional feud and other violence spread over two days — as an outcome of gang rivalry. “To say so is meaningless. These are serious incidents and should be probed in right earnest.”
Gautam believed the state must think afresh to get a grip on the state’s law and order situation. “We must begin at the beginning. If law is implemented, order will take care of itself. We have to isolate the people from the mercenaries of violence.”
He said the solution lay not in big operations, but in effective arrests. “By the time we mobilise forces and arms for a big operation, Maoists flee the area. So, I say we catch the right person. The number is not important but the quality is.”
Drawing from his own experience as IG(CRPF) and SP in various postings, Gautam said big operations were merely a tool to reassure people that they need not fear. “These do not achieve the intended goal. Even Osama bin Laden was not killed in a big operation. He fell prey to lightening moves and swift action.”
Under these circumstances, Gautam insisted he would have quit earlier, had it not been for Munda on whose request he accepted the assignment. “But everything has a limit. If nothing helps, nobody stops me from quitting the job. I will not disobey my conscience,” he said while flipping through a book of Swami Vivekanand’s speeches at his Khukhri police guest house.
“I was told that there was tremendous opposition from the bureaucracy when I was tipped to be security adviser. Had I known the intensity of the opposition I would not have accepted the assignment,” he said.
As an afterthought, Gautam admitted some of his suggestions had been accepted, like the one on empowering SPs to offer jobs on compassionate grounds to wards of policemen killed in anti-rebel operations.
In the end, power, he said, did not come from the rule book. “We have to regain the people’s faith. Power comes from the faith of people.”