Written by a Police Commissioner of Delhi, DG of the NSG, Special Secretary for Internal Security and four-time Governor, this book is a deeply reflective account of the internal security challenges faced by India, the history and the possibilities for dealing with them. Their importance cannot be overestimated.
The internal security situation in India today is “worse than at any time since Independence,” says Shri Marwah. The country is being torn apart by conflicts of all kinds. At the time of Partition in 1947, communal riots between the Hindus and the Muslims were the core problem with all other security threats, except in the Naga hills, were of minor proportions. Thus Pt Nehru could handle the various issues without much difficulty as they did not pose a serious threat to the country’s unity and integrity. However, today, conflicts are erupting dime a dozen, ranging from ethnic violence in the north-east to communal violence in other parts of the country. “What is worse, many of these conflicts enjoy the tacit, if not open, support of the ruling parties,” points out Shri Marwah. His sorrow is that the ‘divide and rule’ policy appears to be the order of the day and an increasingly divided polity is finding it difficult to cope with them. He considers the threat to India’s unity and integrity not just from the border-states in the north-east and Jammu & Kashmir, but fears a threat to India’s heartland by communal violence and Left extremism like never witnessed before. He complains that while the terrorists and insurgent groups are multiplying, “New Delhi appears to be preoccupied with political intrigues and wheeling-dealing.”
Since Shri Marwah knows the police best, his criticism of the country’s control and management seems justified. He feels that those in intelligence shortchange their “customers” by delivering them intelligence only of the PMO or some such ‘useless body’. Those high-minded officers, who tackle militancy, irrespective of danger or their ethnicity, are often brutally murdered – like the assassination of IG Police (Mizoram) GS Arya in a police station in 1975; the killing of DIG AS Atwal outside the Golden Temple where his body lay for hours while the state government waited for permission from the ‘scheming’ Union Home Ministry to investigate it and the killing of SHO, Maisooma PS, whose body lay unclaimed until dumped at the police station by militants. Shri Marwah finds that the entire system has “broken”.
He describes how insurgency can be fought more effectively in many parts of India but wonders if there really is any mechanism to fight militancy in Jammu & Kashmir, in the north-east, in Andhra Pradesh, in Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Bihar! The only success he speaks of glowingly is that of Mizoram where the counter-insurgency and induction of Laldenga into the parliamentary system proved worthwhile. Shri Marwah sounds right when he says that counter-insurgency in the hands of the State is calamitous as it wakes up only after the violence has become unmanageable.
Written with a deep sense of anguish but fearlessly and warmly, the author makes an eloquent case for the fact that if the State does not act early in a crisis, it ends up getting trapped in a vicious circle of its own making. He calls for a combination of clarity, decisiveness and nuance for dealing with the multiple crises India is facing. This book is worth reading, especially by administrators and those in charge of the country’s security.
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