Avoid stereotypes that enlarge fault lines, introspect: PM

November 23rd, 2008 - 4:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghNew Delhi, Nov 23 (IANS) Restoring the faith of the people is a major challenge before the police force, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Sunday while exhorting police officers to avoid stereotypes that might enlarge “fault lines in our society”.Stressing that the police must become more professional, fair and improve its image among people, the prime minister said: “A major challenge before the police will be restoring the faith of the people - specially those belonging to religious and ethnic minorities and the weaker sections - in the impartiality and effectiveness of the police.”

Addressing the director generals of police (DGP) and inspector generals of police (IGP) at their annual conference, he added: “Today, aspersions are being made regarding police impartiality and capabilities, and while I recognise that much of this is motivated, you must face up to the reality that many are convinced that the police is less than fair. This is so even when policemen die in the line of duty.”

Manmohan Singh referred to no particular case but many questions have been raised of the police role in several high profile cases.

This includes the recent shootout in Delhi’s Jamia Nagar where two suspected terrorists and a policeman were killed, the reported torture of 21 Muslim youth in Hyderabad who were picked up as terror suspects by the police and the arrest of two Kashmiri youth in the capital who were branded as Al-Badr terrorists but actually turned out to be police informers.

“It is important that you have a proper understanding of the complex forces that are at work today in our country. You will need to avoid stereotypes that might wittingly, or unwittingly, enlarge the fault lines in our society,” he said.

“You must introspect deeply why this is happening. An adverse image of the police undermines its efficiency.”

“It makes your task so much more difficult. Your work is with, and amongst, people, and you require their support, understanding and help. You need to win the trust of civil society. You need understanding from and rapport with the media,” he added.

The prime minister requested the police to be impartial and fair in gaining confidence, by informing the public about what it needs to know and avoiding random or baseless speculation.

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