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Police reform must for Indian democracy and economy: Prakash Singh
New Delhi | January 15, 2007 1:41:13 PM IST
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Emphasizing the importance of police reform for a better democracy and stable economy, former top police official Prakash Singh today said that without drastic systematic improvement in the police system, the country might turn into a criminal state.

''With the growing nexus between politicians and criminals and politicisation of police forces, the country is fast turning into a criminal state,'' Mr Singh said while inaugurating a workshop for journalists organised by Delhi Journalists Association (DJA) in collaboration with NUJ School of Journalism.

He pointed out that not only the democratic system but also the much-hyped 'fast economic growth' was also at stake.

''No investor would stay in the country if our polity is criminalised and there is no autonomous agency to police the society,'' Mr Singh explained.

''The Police Act 1861 has lost its merit, as the definitions and scopes of the crime have taken new meanings and dimensions,'' he said.

Referring to his now famous petition before the Supreme Court, which had resulted in seven-point directives for the police reforms to Centre and States, the former UP DGP Singh said the resistance from the Centre and the States to implement the reform policy did not augur well for the people.

''The ideas behind these suggested reform measures like setting up of National Security Commission, fixed tenure for key police officials, Separate Inquiry Wings, and a Police Complaints Authority, down to district level is not new as these measures are part of the various committees and commissions in the past.'' Speaking from his experience, Mr Singh said, ''unless the police gets working autonomy, the honest and dedicated officials will continue to be sidelined in the system.'' ''I was saved by the God from suspension for my campaign against the corrupt and criminals,'' he said.

The NUJ President N K Trikha said the existing Police Act was meant to protect the 'British raj'.

Despite several recommendations by committees and commissions in the past, the government did not take a single step to give autonomy and establish accountability in the police system.

Speaking on the occasion, DJA President Manohar Singh said, ''journalists need to understand the importance of their profession to give priority to the voice of voiceless.'' Ms Swati Mehta of Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative stressed the role of media in highlighting the crying need of reforms in the police system of the country as the SC directives were being unfairly criticised by the political class to stall a crucial step in the right direction.

UNI IP PK RS1828

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