Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Workshop on Police orientating on “The Role of Police in Civil Society” conducted by CSSS (Mumbai) and COVA in association with Hyderabad City Police.

 A one day workshop was organized on 27-7-11 at Madina Education Centre, Hyderabad on“The Role of Police in Civil Society” by CSSS (Mumbai) COVA in association with Hyderabad City Police.

25 senior level police officers and a few members of civil society organizations working on Communal Harmony, Peace and Social Justice attended this workshop.  Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer, Chairman, Centre for Study of Social and Secularism, Mumbai was the guest speaker.
 Mr. Mohammed Turab, Executive Secretary, COVA welcomed guest speakers, Senior Police Officers and other invitees from civil society organizations and requested Dr. Anand Raj Varma to preside over the workshop and to conduct the proceedings.

 While inviting Mr. Mahesh Bhagwat, IPS for his opening remarks Dr. Varma recited an Urdu couplet   –
 Yaqeen Mahkam, Amal paiham, Mohabbat Faateh Aalam,
Yahi Mardon ki Shamsheerein hain, Jihad Zindagani Mein.

 In his opening remarks, Mr. Mahesh Bhagwath, IPS.,Joint Commissioner of Police, Administration said that need of this workshop was felt very much since long  to sensitize police officers to enable them to perform well.  

Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer in his address said religion doesn’t clash with other religion but interests of people in power.  A truly religious man can never be communal person. We have to come out of prejudices and remove narrowness. There are exemplary examples of communal harmony of olden days of India. A Muslim sufi  Hazrath Nizamuddin Aulia walking one fine morning  along the bank of Jamuna river glanced at the river and said that the women bathing in the river are worshipping Allah.  Dara Shikoh translated Upanishads into Persian language and King Akbar wrote a book “Majmua Al Bahrain”.   He referred to the comparative works of Pandit Sundar Lal in his book Geeta and Qura’n and tried to prove similarities of teachings in both the holy books.  In the context of Europe the word “Communal”   is positive word meaning community action whereas in our context it becomes a derogatory word connoting religious bigotism and hatred. Wrong and out of context interpretation of medieval history is the main cause of all misconceptions and religious hatred and communal violence.

The British, who constitute part of Europe culture who came to India to establish colonialism,  had a monolithic religion and culture. In, they saw the diversified plural India an opportunity of keeping Indians non-unified by means of playing mischief of one religion against another. Hence they assigned the responsibility of distorting India’s history to two scholars namely Eliot and Darson who embarked on the task with a clear mind of creating a divide between the two religions. We must always remember that anything quoted out of context will lose its meaning and lead to many interpretations.

He said that Savarkar and Jinnah both modernists were non-religious and communal.  Moulana Azad felt humiliated when people told to him that he is surely winning election from the constituency he is filing nomination as majority population of that constituency is Muslims, and he tore off the nomination paper.  He said I want votes of citizens of my country not of Hindus or Muslims.

Auragazeb is the highly misquoted king in the entire medieval history; labeling him as a religious bigot and anti Hindu. In his personal life, all his deeds are anti Islamic such as he killed his all three brothers and imprisoned his father for the sake of usurping power. On the other hand his main general was a Hindu namely Tilak. Aurangzeb issued farmanas and released magnanimous grants   to many temples and a Shiva temple, which was visited by the speaker.

  The copy of the Firmaan was shown to him by the Pujari of the temple. The king also built Jain temples in Gujarat.  Ghori is labeled as attacker of Somnath temple but before coming to India he attacked many Mosques in Multan of Afghanistan for the sake of wealth. Those days’ temples were also the abode of riches and the wealth was kept hidden right inside the idols; hence he had to break the idol to amass the wealth. When this background is not known and looked only at the action, it gives wrong meaning.

Giving the chronological account of all the riots he said before coming of the British, only two riots took place in Ahmedabad in 1892. In the independent India, in 1961, Jabalpur riots werethe first major riots followed by Rourkela in 1964, Ranchi in 1967 Ahmedabad in 1969, Bihar shareef in 1981, Vadodara in 1982, Bhivandi in 1984, Meerut in 1987, Bhagalpur in 1989, Bombay in 1992 and Gujarat in 2002.   After 1947 3300 riots took places in various part of the country taking about 42,000 innocent lives.

Mostly the riots have the hidden political and economic motives of defaming the present regime or eliminating the competition as it happened in the case of Kanpur riots or vacation of slum areas. It happened in case of Gujarat where a simple suggestion given by Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer to Mr. Chowdhary the successor of Mr. Solanaki, the then C.M  stopped the riots after  distressed sale of land was banned. 

The question answer session followed and one Police Officer said that he worked in the old city of Hyderabad and learnt important verses from the Holy Quran and quoted wherever required.  Through this way I won hearts of the people making them receptive to my words.  This helped a lot in maintaining peace and harmony.

Dr. Varma inviting Mr. Jeevan Kumar, President, Human Rights Forum recited the following couplet –
Chhupe baithe hain gulshan mein bahaarein lootne waale,
Kali ki aankh lag jaayegi, to kharo, tum na so jana.

Mr. Jeevan Kumar in his presentation illustrated about the plight of old city and how the crimes and communal riots are emanating from it. There are 35 localities in the old city of Hyderabad.  They did not comply with the government norms prior to construction. The Government and urban local bodies have jaundiced eye towards them manifested in neglect of vital service sector like Health and Education in the forms non availability of proper infrastructure and staff in health care and education. Important recommendations of Ramanachari Report were given a go by and only existing Govt institutions like High Court and Administrative Tribunal are on their way to getting shifted elsewhere.  There is deprivation of Banking facilities, no LIC office, no old age homes, no recreational centers and limited ATMs facilities. Banks don’t come forward to offer loans and ghettoization of communities is happening rapidly leading to accentuation of mental blockades.

There is similarity in the behaviors of both Hindu and Muslim communities in terms of their orthodox practices of going to witchcrafts. He cited the other examples like Kakara palli and Gangavaram port where attempts were made to forcefully evacuate the people depriving of their livelihoods intertwined with the natural resources available there. In all these systematic and cruel plans of the Govt machinery executed with   hand in glove with the multi national companies, 
police fully cooperated with them leaving the Human Rights issues of people to wind. For all thess Human Rights violations, government did not take action against the erring officials but rewarded with promotions, which raised strong objections from the side of police officials.

Dr. welcomed Mr. King Shuk Nag to speak reciting the couplet –

Mujhe os junoon ki hai justajoo, jo chaman ko bakhsh de rang o boo,
Jo naveed o fasle bahaar ho, mujhe os chaman ki talaash hai;
Mujhe os sahar ki ho kya khushi, jo ho zulmaton se ghiri huee,
Meri shaam e gham ko jo loot le, mujhe os sahar ki talash hai.

Mr. King shuk Nag Resident editor of The Times of India, speaking to the police officers said that when Gujarat riots were going on he was present in Ahmedabad and is a witness to the unfair attitude of the Chief Minister Mr Narendera Modi towards Muslim Community.  Police is always in a dilemma either to follow the instructions of their higher ups and people in power or go by rule position. To do either of these two things will entail in inviting the wrath. Both ways they are defeated.

 For the wrong instructions of higher ups, the axe falls on the lower level officers not on the higher ups. In urban areas police officers are involved in land settlements, for any deal, they will have to circumvent the rule position to execute it. Very often situations are communalized by the political bosses for vested interests and when it goes out of control then are handed over to police to set it right. Instead, if from the beginning, free hand is given to the police, it will be handled dexterously by the police. Continuous on field duties being away from homes make the behavior of police violent and as a result they tend to over react with the people. One way communication in the name of strict discipline gives no scope to ventilate the issues of lower rung police officers. Competitive postures of Jhanda politics by both communities is creating wedge between the two communities.

Ms Mah Jabeen of Phoenix, NGO said there is no gender sensitivity in the whole of police department. She felt anguish at the way foreign Prime Ministers or other leaders come to India with their own baggage of security arrangements and even vehicles and frisk the Indian leaders in their country frown her as if our police is not capable enough to handle them. 

She dreams of a peaceful egalitarian society where every body enjoying all the human rights. She said track record of the police and their behavior during communal riots is far from satisfactory as they tend to become partisan. She quoted the dream of Ram Manohar Lohia of a society without any police stations. A.P has become the most violent state with increasing State violence and other forms of violence.

In his concluding speak Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer took the names of legendary police officers like OP Bali, Suresh Khopade and Vibhuti  Narayan Roy  with their   exemplary behavior who took people into confidence and they became his ears and eyes; he exhorted all the higher officials to emulate them. It is observed that in general at lower constabulary level, police tend to have communal behavior than at higher IPS officers.  After Godhra bogy burning incident, for three days police maintained peace in the town because of the duty conscious Police Officer who was transferred and only when orders from state Government were given, then communal riots started.

 He quoted the faulty and immature policy of late Rajiv Gandhi of appeasing Muslims  by overturning the order Supreme Court of Shah Banu case  and to appeasing Hindus got the Babri Masjid unlocked opening a Pandora’s box and engulfing the entire country into communal carnage. The decade of 1980 -90 was the decade of most communal riots. In most of the riots, Police behavior was partisan against Muslims.

He said Bomb blast and Terrorism is the offshoot of communal attacks and reaction to injustices done during the riots by one community against others and by the State.  Ajmal Kasab confessed that during his terrorist training, he was shown repeatedly the CD of Gujarat riots and upon asking didn’t he get the feeling that he was killing innocent about his indiscriminate firing, he retorted back saying when they killed innocent Muslims in Gujarat, when they didn’t get such feeling, why should he get. First Bomb blast came as a reaction to the Bombay riots. Further he said that 3 Ds namely Democracy, Diversity and Dialogue are important for promotion of pluralism, harmony and peace.

In creation of Pakistan opinion of only 4% of Muslims   was taken. Those Muslims who migrated to Pakistan were and are treated there as second grade citizens and called as Mohajirs. Highly regarded religious body Deoband‘s Jamait ul Ulama e Hind bitterly opposed to creation of Pakistan. Local Punjabi Muslims in Pakistan dominate the whole populace. Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan didn’t like that after death his body is buried on the soil of Pakistan and as per his desire his body is laid to rest in Afghanistan. 

Dr. Varma concluded his presidential remarks with the following messages:

  1. Shakti se Bhakti Badi, Sookhe ko Hariyaye,
            Shakti se jo na tare, Shraddha se Tar Jaye.

  1. Freedom without discipline is license,
            Discipline without freedom is tyranny.
  1. Jalaao dil ko, ujaala karo khayalon mein,  
            har ek dil ki kasak ho tumhare naalon mein;
            Andheri Raat hai, Uttho khuloos e dil le kar,
            koi pucaar raha hai tumhein ujalon mein.

He read the following message for the invitees:

“Open your eyes and look for some man, or some work for the sake of men, which needs a little time, a little friendship, a little sympathy, a little sociability, a little human toil – it is indeed in every nook and corner.  Therefore search and see if there is not some place where you may invest you humanity.”

Mr. Mahesh Bhagawat, IPS., Joint Commissioner of Police, Administration said it is the schooling where wrong history lessons were taught and hatred is cultivated into the  young minds towards other community people. If really police shows the will, the riots can be quelled in the beginning.  He expressed that the orientation given by Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer is useful and hoped that the police officers will make use of the learning they carry from this workshop.  He expressed thanks to Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer and other speakers of the workshop and also thanked to COVA for organizing this workshop.

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