Tension, intolerance in society new challenge for cops: Jayalalithaa

New Delhi, June 5 (IANS) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jaylalithaa Wednesday said modern India has a perceptible telescoping tension and intolerance, threatening society and making it more confrontationist.

“These have thrown up major challenges to the police force in maintaining law and order, compromising the internal security environment of the state,” she said in her speech read out by K.P. Munusamy, the state’s minister for municipal administration, rural development, law, courts and prisons, at the Chief Ministers Conference on internal security here.

According to the Tamil Nadu chief minister, such a situation not only warrants a major increase in the number of policemen per 1,000 persons in the population, but also necessitates a huge increase in the investment on modernisation of the police force in terms of equipment, mobility, weaponry and technological aids in crime detection and surveillance.

Jayalalithaa said the current situation also demands that the union government recognise that the maintenance of law and order and police are state subjects in the constitutional scheme, and that the states should be treated as equal partners in a system where cooperation between state and centre should prevail over narrow political considerations.

Despite the importance of internal security for development and growth, the conference of internal security is treated by the centre as a mere ritual, discussing an unchanged agenda and making no effort to achieve real breakthroughs on pressing issues, Jayalalithaa said.

She added that little had been done in terms of funding the states for modernisation of police forces, even though chief ministers have been seeking central funds for it.

“While states like Tamil Nadu are investing in this area, the Government of India can no longer shy away from its responsibility and must significantly enhance funding,” she said.

Expressing her disappointment at the reduction in the centre’s share in modernisation of police force, going down to 60 percent from 75 percent, Jayalalithaa said the state government’s share has increased, placing a higher burden on its finances.

“Considering the importance of mega cities from the national point of view, we are of the view that the centre must bear the entire cost of modernisation,” she said.

Stressing that there should be functional cooperation between central and the state governments in maintenance of internal security, Jayalalithaa said the centre is increasingly taking unilateral steps and creating top-down structures and parallel authorities that encroach upon the constitutional domain of the state governments.

She said the state government has not allowed Maoists to strike root in Tamil Nadu and firm action has been taken to quell the activities of some front organisations espousing Left-wing extremist ideology and attempting to build up a mass base.

Referring to the repeated attacks on Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy, Jayalalithaa urged the centre to take steps to: (a) prevent unprovoked, murderous attacks on Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy; (b) retrieve Kachatheevu – an Indian islet in Palk Strait transferred to Sri Lanka in 1974 – and its surrounding area as a permanent solution to this vexatious issue; and (c) press for the redrawing of the International Boundary Line.

She termed the setting up of a separate cadre of investigation within the police force as ill-conceived, saying it would prove counter-productive.

Referring to reports of the centre trying to set up the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) outside the Intelligence Bureau, she said: “I fail to understand why the centre persists in dealing with such a sensitive matter in such an insidious fashion, treating the state governments as though they are adversaries to be suspected rather than partners.”

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