J&K won't remain Union Territory forever: Amit Shah
New Delhi, Oct 7: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday said Jammu and Kashmir will not remain a Union Territory (UT) forever and the statehood to it would be restored once the security situation is improved there.
Interacting with the probationers of the 2018 batch of the Indian Police Service (IPS) here, Shah also said "not a single bullet has been fired or not a single person has died" after the abrogation of the special status given to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 and its division into two UTs on August 5.
Shah said Jammu and Kashmir would not remain a UT forever and the statehood would be returned once situation is normalised, according to an official release. The home minister said the notion that only the Article 370 protected the Kashmiri culture and identity was a wrong one, saying all regional identities are inherently protected by the Indian constitution.
Misuse of the Article 370 is the root cause of cross-border terrorism, he said. Shah said only 10 police stations areas in Kashmir, out of 196, have Section 144 of the CrPC in force.
On making "tough, yet right decisions", Shah said some bold decisions are necessary to be made for people's benefit, without getting bogged down by the fear of a backlash and referred to the decision taken on Article 370 by the Narendra Modi government. Referring to the National Register of Citizens (NRC), which is being updated in Assam, the home minister said the NRC was essential not just for the national security but for good governance as well.
He said the NRC must not be seen as a political exercise, as it is very important to have a national register of citizens in order to ensure that benefits of development reach all citizens. Shah encouraged the IPS probationers to be proud to be part of a service that is continuously working to ensure safety and security of the people.
He said contrary to the image of police portrayed in popular culture, it is these officers, from top to bottom, who are responsible for maintaining law and order and safeguarding the internal security of the country. Shah said there is a need for bringing in a positive change in the public perception about police and asked the young probationers to focus on honest performance.
Asserting that an image is made by not one incident but continuous performance and delivery, he encouraged the new officers to introspect each day and ask oneself what one has done for the betterment of the society, besides the official duty. Giving his views on reforms in the policing system, Shah said reforming the system does not mean shunning the old ways of policing totally, rather it is a continuous process of adaptation of the old methods to address new challenges. He noted that the challenges faced by societies change, and so should the responses to them, from laws to technology.
The home minister said the government is committed to police reforms and encouraged the probationers to individually carry out small yet important improvement in local police functioning, wherever they were posted. Shah called for a conceptual change in the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) and the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and said the amended codes must be in line with India being a welfare state. He noted that the purpose of the CrPC has shifted from preservation of the British empire to the welfare of people, and this has to be reflected in the provisions and application of the code.
Shah advised the probationers to "never run from responsibility and never compromise with discipline". He said all three sections of society - the people, the government and the bureaucracy - need to carry out their respective responsibilities honestly in order to effectively implement the Constitution in its letter and spirit. Maintenance of law and order is very important to achieve Prime Minister Modi's vision of a USD 5 trillion economy, he said.
Shah expounded on the changing role of police and said the colonial role of police as an agent of fear is not the reality of today. He called for the fear associated with police to be removed by bringing a positive behavioral change in the personnel and added that the IPS as an institution must make this change percolate to the grassroots. He said the minimum use of force and maximum effectiveness should be the motto of police everywhere and called for the need of human touch and sensitivity in the police to gain peoples' trust.
Talking on how the efficiency of working of the police be improved, Shah told the probationers that as IPS officers, their job would be to ensure that there is freedom to take required decisions and owning up of responsibility at all levels, without overstepping of boundaries. He urged the young officers to encourage and inspire their staff and build capacity of constables. He asserted that an organisation can only be as strong as its base, and the "base of the police system is the constable".
Speaking on the increasing proportion of women in police at every level, Shah said lady IPS officers can inspire other women to join the police. He said that gender-based reservation was not the answer to the issue of inadequate representation of women in the police. The home minister also spoke of the need to change societal mindset in this regard and expressed confidence that this would gradually happen.