Internal Disunity and Distrust the Single Biggest Obstacle in Tackling terrorism: DGP Maharashtra Sanjeev Dayal

Terrorism remains the single greatest threat faced by us and biggest challenge for the Indian police but until we close ranks against this threat and stand united we will fail in countering it : Director General of Police, Maharashtra Sanjeev Dayal said. Next to terrorism and internal intra-community tensions, left wing extremist remains a major challenge, Dayal said.January 21, 2015

In this exclusive interview to Teesta Setalvad, Sanjeev Dayal speaks at length on the urgent need for all sections of Indians, especially the corporate sector to invest in building of communal harmony. This interview is part of the Communalism Combat-Hillele TV interviews.

Unfortunately so far CSR policies do not see supporting projects that build communal harmony as enhancing their brand and this must change, emphasized Dayal in this detailed and exclusive interview. An avid reader of books, Dayal was reading Romila Thapar’s Past and Present when CC interviewed him.

While the recent Peshawar attack on young school children showed the brutal extent to which terror squads will go even snuffing the lives of young children, unless we Indians learn to stand as one and join ranks, we will fail. Terrorism requires that we stand united against this threat, said Dayal.

Speaking at length on the the issue of the trust deficit between India’s largest minority, the Muslims and the police, Dayal who, along with the DGPs of Tamil nadu and Uttar Pradesh, had in 2013 at the annual DGP’s conference expanded on the critical issue needed to ensure lasting stability and harmony. Tilak on the forhead of policemen, temples at the police station and un-civic ways that Bakri Eid is observed (public slaughter) are the touchy issues flagged by this gutsy officer in his report which he expanded upon in this lengthy interview. Serious training and sensitisation needs to address the issue of communal bias  within the force. Apart from the police, other departments of government need to be sensitised to the issue. As recruitments of minorities within the Maharashtra police remain short of the presence in the population, steps need to be taken to assist felicity with the Marathi language to ensure that candidates make it through the written and oral examinations.

Autonomy and dignity of the police force is critical to ensure professionalism. Sanjeev Dayal said that while Maharashtra has (along with other states) not complied with all directions issued by the Supreme Court of India on the question, the new government is actually taking steps that are welcome. As we go to press, news reports that reveal that two state home department circulars have been issued to guard against holding senior policemen at the mercy of politicians has come through.

Maharashtra takes a step towards police autonomy

An officer with a sterling 38 year old record in the force, Dayal has had critical positions like Commissioner of Police, Mumbai and been part of the Intelligence as well. Today he heads the Maharashtra police and pulls no punches when it comes to battling for the dignity and autonomy of the force.

Gender crimes remain a serious concern and while the Police bears the brunt for the first round of accountability the State and Private sector need to be much more alive and sensitive to the issue as the crimes often happen within their jurisdiction, said Dayal. On the media he said more emphasis on issue based coverage of events would go a long way in deepening their understanding of crimes and their trends.

A policeman must have the stomach for thankless criticism even at the end of a hard day at his or her job. That is the nature of the profession so young people joining the force must have the gall and a spirit of service said Dayal. Stressing on the need for housing and educational facilities for policemen and their families, Dayal, who has enjoyed an exemplary record said in this interview that a clear and collaborative approach to all situations was a must. The Mohalla Committee experiment, unqiue to Bhiwandi and Mumbai needs to be strengthened to ensure greater communication between the citizen and the police.