People in Uniform Must Learn to Respect Law and the Constitution
The speech of a CRPF woman constable has become 'viral' on social media after she spoke against all the human rights defenders and felt that our constitution only 'defends' and 'protects' the anti-nationals. The 'sadak chaap' Sanghi channels and their cheerleaders have jumped on the speech, claiming that the CRPF put the 'country first’. The degradation of our media is complete. It used to pretend to be a quality media earlier, but now it is completely exposed. The owners have also shown their true casteist colours, as they continue to encourage those reporters who would not have otherwise qualified in any print or electronic channel which really believes in journalism or quality reporting. They have now become a virus, a disease, which has endangered our democracy and our plural cultural heritage. The age of Bania media has truly arrived. Those who are working there are not journalists, who can question the state and the government. Instead, they denigrate and humiliate the opposition and dissenters. Now, the aim is to finish everything which is surviving in the name of opposition, so that they can rule the country without any constraints.
While the young constable's debating skills are good for her promotion and the atmosphere being created, it is essential for those who run the show to understand that by denigrating the issues of human rights and rights of individuals as being anti-national, the agency would do no better. I felt proud of the CRPF when, after the Pulwama attack, they issued a statement to the countrymen to beware of forces which were targeting Kashmiri students. CRPF started a special helpline to help the Kashmiri students, and we all felt proud of the force and its officers.
Forces need to be professional. Any force which becomes religious is going to harm itself. One may disagree with someone, or even hate someone in personal life (though hate does not work, it destroys those who suffer from it) yet, as a force, you can’t be like this. Suppose, Kanhaiya Kumar becomes a minister tomorrow, or the young constable is asked to guard Kashmiri leaders who are behind bars, what will she do? Will she continue to live in hatred against them or resign from the job? Should we allow our jawans to live in such perpetual hatred? If that happens, it would be difficult for them to understand their professional duties.
It is true that CRPF jawans live in the most stressful conditions. Much worse than the armed forces, because the armed forces have better service conditions. CRPF is always on the move, from this part of the country to that part. Their families live in tension as the facilities are not adequate. A jawan, who dies in the line of duty, is officially not a 'shaheed', though media might hype it. Bringing law and order back to normal or travelling to Naxal-dominated -- areas one day and moving to another different location the next, puts them at real risk. Their service conditions need to be improved.
It is important that all the members of the forces must undergo some sort of training to respect the law and the constitution. A citizen does not ask for more from them. No one is asking them to read the UN charters, covenants or other treaties but just several important aspects of our constitution, particularly the fundamental rights and duties of the state. It is good that the jawans have political understanding, but such political understanding should not turn rhetorical. And this is the danger. The way the media has encouraged and promoted it has the potential danger of tempting the men and women in uniform into competitive negativity. Can such talk take place in any of the human rights forums internationally? Surely, they have many officers who have better understanding of human rights and who do not decry the court for 'defending' the people or allowing the people the opportunity.
The men in uniform will realise that their duty is to uphold the law of the land impartially, and not become part of a campaign. The forces are not here to do justice. That is the domain of the judiciary. The forces are there to protect people, and not merely the ruling party politicians. In plural societies or a diverse country like ours, the forces need to be taught about the sensitivities of regions, religions, ethnicity, languages etc. And for that, it is equally important that all the forces and the organs of the government must have a fair representation of India's diversity - whether religious, regional or ethnic.
It is good that our new young men and women in uniform are talking about issues but it is important that the forces start some courses within their units to educate them. The crisis of CRPF and others is due to the mental pressure which their members face, living far away from their families, in difficult terrains and the lack of enough facilities in comparison to other forces. Our jawans need help, and not just empty sloganeering, to relieve their stress