PM Modi’s talk of ‘one nation, one uniform’ has dangerous implications
The intention is clearly to weaken the Opposition-led states in the run up to the General Election due to be held in 2024, since as per the Constitution, police forces report to state governments
PM Narendra Modi is not known to be upfront in his expressions and usually refrains from conveying his thoughts and ideas to the people of the country. What’s more, his public speeches are often loaded with cyphers and constrictions.
Once again, he has come out with a suggestion, purely a proposition by nature, of ‘One Nation, One Uniform’ for the country’s police forces. The character and implication of this suggestion could be decrypted from the fact that he placed his ideas before the ‘Chintan Shivir’ of state home ministers.
Though he declared that ‘I am not trying to impose it on the states’, and that his idea ‘may happen, may not happen today, may take 5, 50, or 100 years, but let's give it a thought’, he asked the states to get ready for the changeover in an indirect way.
It is certainly not a coincidence that before Modi came out with the proposal, his confidante Amit Shah made bare his design to open offices of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in all the states by May 2024. The occasion where he came out with this revelation was the inauguration of the Raipur branch office of the NIA on Saturday.
Shah declared that the government wanted the NIA to become a federal crime investigation agency with offices in all states before the 2024 General Election, according to media reports.
Ever since its formation, the NIA has been acting in a domineering manner. Nobody musters courage to challenge its authority and diktats. In this backdrop, there is no tangible reason to open NIA’s offices in all the states. There is little doubt that this is a discrete design to turn the state police forces dysfunctional and irrelevant.
The thrust by Modi and Shah on having one police force has one common thread: both intend to turn the states subservient and turn them directorially poorer. The states will be at the mercy of the Centre as is the case with Delhi.
One fails to make out if the states will continue to have their separate organisations.
Modi is suggesting that with the introduction of the ‘one police’ concept, the identity of the police across the country could be identical. He also said that it would lead to close cooperation among the states to tackle crimes and criminals.
The unembellished fact is with the political situation turning hostile to serve their electoral interests, Modi and Shah intend to have their own police force in the states which would be at their beck and call. Their hurry to implement their design makes their intention doubtful. They could have waited till the 2024 elections. They could have, in fact, made it an election agenda.
Policing has earned a bad reputation under the rule of the Modi government. The Delhi Police, which functions directly under Shah, has earned notoriety globally for its unprofessional conduct. Recently, a fact finding committee comprising of retired judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts concluded that it had been communalised and had been resorting to brutal machinations to persecute the minorities, especially the Muslims.
Modi and Shah are clearly afraid that the state governments may use their police forces to foil the moves of the BJP and Modi government to force them to fall in line. It is a known fact that the move by the Opposition parties to form a united front has unnerved both the leaders. They would not have forgotten how the BJP was humiliated in the last West Bengal Assembly polls.
One more observation, that too made by the Union law minister Kiren Rijiju, ought to be taken seriously in the backdrop of the comments made by Modi and Shah. As law minister, he has the right to express his opinion, but to accuse the judiciary of not working in conformity with the spirit of the Constitution is simply an attempt to denigrate the judicial institution.
Probably Rijiju desires to have a compliant judiciary. It is a widely known fact and is even debated in the judicial circles how even the judges of the Supreme Court have been acting at the behest of the executive over the last few years.
It is shocking to what extent the minister could stoop low to force the judiciary to follow his party’s dictates. His observation at 'Sabarmati Samvad' organised by 'Panchjanya', a weekly owned by RSS, that half of the time judges are "preoccupied" with deciding appointments, due to which their primary job of delivering justice "suffers", is distasteful and obsessive.
These developments provide an insight that Modi government intends to seize and control the functioning of all important organs of the State and is actively working on the plan to lead India to a presidential form of government.
Views are personal