UP police now feel free to misuse power to settle scores with people: NHRC

In a stinging criticism of Yogi Adityanath government over ‘encounters, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Monday said policemen in Uttar Pradesh now feel free to misuse their power to “settle scores with people” following an “undeclared endorsement” from higher-ups.

The NHRC’s strong words came after it issued a notice to UP government and police following reports about a Sub Inspector opening fire at a 25-year-old gym instructor and telling his colleague that the “encounter” would earn him an out of turn promotion. The incident that took place on Saturday night rocked Rajya Sabha on Monday leading to washing out of the morning session.

With UP witnessing over 900 encounters in which 31 were killed after Adityanath government assumed power in March last year, the NHRC has asked the UP Chief Secretary and Director General of Police to look into the “emerging scenario, personally and to take appropriate action to sensitise the police personnel not to abuse their power to harass the innocent citizens”. Six weeks time have been given them to submit the report.


While Noida Police has denied receiving any message on the encounter in the gym instructor case, the NHRC said, “it seems that police personnel in Uttar Pradesh are feeling free, misusing their power in the light of an undeclared endorsement given by the higher ups.”

“They are using their privileges to settle scores with the people. The police force is to protect the people, these kind of incidents would send a wrong message to the society. Creating an atmosphere of fear is not the correct way to deal with the crime. In this particular case, the injured man is not an offender. He was travelling with his friends when the rowdy act done by the delinquent SI has gravely violated his right to life and liberty,” it said.

It said this indicate that the policeman acted in “unruly manner having no fear or respect for the law” and this is one of the incidents in sequence of several police encounters occurred in the state.

This is not the first time the NHRC has raised questions about encounters in the state. Quoting Adityanath’s remarks that “criminals will be jailed or killed in encounters”, the NHRC had on 22 November, 2017 said even if the law and order situation is grave, the state cannot resort to such mechanism, which may result in the extra judicial killings of the alleged criminals.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Feb 6, 2018)


Rs 218.32 crore for roads on China border

Gearing up to the challenge posed by the communist neighbour, India is stepping up its infrastructure along the border with China with the latest Union Budget allocating Rs 218.32 crore for constructing around 200 km road network on the Himalayan terrain.

Officials said roads measuring 197.40 km will be built in two phases with the first phase covering 97.40 km and it would enhance the operational capability of the border guarding force, here the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), in reaching out to areas fast and take on transgressing Chinese troops.

The emphasis on infrastructure building on the Sino-India border comes as Beijing has stepped up its infrastructure activities on its side of border and after a stand-off in Doklam Plateau in western Bhutan.


In October last year, a conference of the military commanders in New Delhi has decided that the roads linking the four mountain passes – Niti, Lipulekh, Thang La 1 and Tsang Chok La – along the Line of Actual Control would be built on priority by 2020.

On the Indo-Pakistan border, Rs 119.22 crore has been allocated for fencing of 24 km while another Rs 75 crore has been allocated for constructing 659 km of roads. Floodlighting of 224 km would get Rs 25 crore, according to the Output-Outcome Framework for Schemes 2018-19.

For the Indo-Bangladesh border, Rd 269.23 crore has been allocated for 53.65 km long fencing, Rs 33.65 crore for 57.08 km long road, and Rs 67.31 crore for floodlighting of 87.71 km.


India-China: Road projects — 197.40 km — Rs 218.32 crore

Indo-Bangladesh border

Road projects — 57.08 km — Rs 33.65 crore

Barbed wire fencing — 53.65 km — Rs269.23 crore

Floodlighting — 87.71 km — Rs 67.31 crore

India-Pak border

Road projects — 659 km — Rs 75 crore

Fencing — 24 km — Rs 119.22 crore

Floodlighting — 224 km — Rs 25 crore

High tech surveillance equipment — Rs 50 crore

Border Out Posts on Indo-Pak, Indo-Bangladesh borders — 26 — Rs 235.58 crore


The border infrastructure development on India’s other borders are also getting enough attention. Road projects measuring 378.11 km along India-Nepal border has been allotted Rs 100 crore while another Rs 67 lakh has been earmarked for such projects on Indo-Bhutan border.

Two pilot projects of a high-tech surveillance unit would be deployed in Gujarat and Punjab at a cost of Rs 25 crore each. Officials said this could be spread to other areas depending on its success.

Twenty-six Border Out Posts will also come up on Indo-Pak and Indo-Bangladesh borders at a cost of Rs 235.58 crore.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Feb 4, 2018)

Pix courtesy: India Today (representational pix)

Maoist incidents remain below 1,000-mark in 2017

Incidents of Maoists violence in the country remained below 1,000-mark in 2017 for the first time in eight years but number of security personnel getting killed in action are on the rise.

Also, latest Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) report shows that the number of arms training camps and ‘jan adalats’ organised by the naxals remained almost same in 2017 compared to 2016, though it has reduced considerably when compared to 2010.

Senior security officials feel that the action against the naxals across the country is on the right path though there is a lot more to be done in Chhattisgarh, the main theatre of Maoist violence, where an increase in number of deaths were reported despite a decline in incidents.

Last year, 908 incidents involving Maoists were reported across the country, as against 1,048 in 2016 and 1,089 in 2015. In 2010, when the Maoist movement was at its peak, there were 2,213 incidents.

Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Odisha and Maharashtra account for 873 of the 908 incidents reported in 2017.

Maoist Incidents In India










Civilians Killed





Security Personnel Killed





Encounters with Police





Attacks on Police (including landmine attacks)





Maoists killed





One of the highlights in the analysis by the MHA is the decline in civilian deaths. While 2016 saw a rise in civilian deaths, ducking the declining trend since 2010, the casualties on this side has once again slided last year to below 200 mark at 188. In 2016, it was 213 while it was 171 in 2015.

However, there is no good news on the front on security personnel front, as the number of their deaths in action is rising for the past two years. While 2010 recorded 285 killings of security personnel, it was on the decline till 2015 when 59 such cases were reported. However, it rose to 65 in 2016 and then to 75 last year.

Incidents/Deaths in States

States 2010







Incidents/ Deaths

Chhattisgarh 625 / 343 466 / 101 395/107 373 / 130
Jharkhand 501 / 157 310 / 56 323 / 85 251 / 56
Bihar 307 / 97 110 / 17 129 / 28 99 / 22
Odisha 218 / 79 92 / 28 86 / 27 81 / 29
Maharashtra 94 / 45 55 / 18 73 / 23 69 / 16

The background paper prepared by the MHA had earlier acknowledged that extremists had fine-tuned their Tactical Counter Offensive Campaign (TCOC) “quite well” after suffering setbacks in 2016. The naxals have managed to perpetrate “some major incidents” by resorting to ambushes and IED attacks “taking the forces by surprise,” it had said.

It had then said the Maoists were trying to deflect the attention of forces away from Dandakaranya region, the naxal hotbed, by stepping up activities at the Chhattisgarh-Madhya Pradesh-Maharashtra tri-junction.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Jan 20, 2018)


Monitor ‘deep web’: MHA to states

Tackling the “border-less” world of cyber crimes, the Centre has asked states to set up systems to monitor “deep web” which is often used for planning and execution of nefarious activities by criminals.

It also wants the states to set up or strengthen its existing social media monitoring facilities with a special emphasis on vernacular content, as a lot of such information are being passed through WhatsApp, Twitter and other social media tools to incite trouble.

The Ministry of Home Affairs has now sent an ‘advisory on cyber crime prevention and control’ to all states insisting on the need for gearing up institutional mechanism to tackle cyber crimes, which pose “technical, administrative as well as legal challenges” in investigations.

It wants the states to have domain experts in information technology, mobile telephony, digital forensics and cyber law “hired from the market” in the cyber crime coordination cell at state level as well as district cyber crimes.

With criminals using “deep web”, which is part of the World Wide Web whose contents are not indexed by standard web search engines, to further their agenda, the states should also set up cloud-based high-tech cyber forensic labs.

As part of preventive measures, the MHA has also asked states to maintain a list of suspect profiles for monitoring, especially busting rackets of child pornography, human trafficking and blackmailing.


** Set up State Cyber Crime Coordination Cell/District Cyber Crime Cells

— Suitable number of police personnel be deployed along with domain experts hired from market

** Refer cases with inter-state or international ramifications to CBI

** Set up cloud-based high-tech cyber forensic labs

** Possibility of mobile cyber forensic lab facility could be explored

** Train all police officers in basic cyber awareness

** Sufficient number of officers be trained in cyber crime investigations, forensic analysis and cyber law

** Set up systems to monitor deep web

** Set up or strengthen social media monitoring facilities with emphasis on vernacular content

** Apply “intelligence-led” policing to pre-empt cyber crimes

** Maintain a list of suspect profiles


Cyber crimes is increasing in the country with latest figures showing it has touched 12,317 in 2016 compared to 11,592 in 2015 and 9,622 in 2014. Uttar Pradesh topped the list with 2,639 cases in 2016 followed by Maharashtra (2,380) and Karnataka (1,101) last year.

According to ‘Crime in India 2016’, 48.6% of cyber-crimes reported were for illegal gain (5,987) followed by revenge (1,056) and insult to the modesty of women (686 cases). Blackmailing was the motive in 571 such cases while inciting hate crimes (149) also had high numbers.

The MHA wants the states to leverage support of private sector and civil society in gathering information and apply “intelligence-led” policing to pre-empt cyber crimes.

The states have also been asked to refer specific cases which have inter-state or international ramifications to the CBI, which is also the nodal point for Interpol in the country. Training of sufficient number of police officers in cyber crime investigation, forensic analysis and legal aspects is also emphasised by the MHA.

On awareness drives, the advisory said there should be regular campaigns advising people not to share user ID, password, PIN numbers or One-Time Passwords.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Jan 17, 2018)

Counterfeiters fast to copy Rs 2,000 notes

The Rs 2,000 note is in existence for just about a year but counterfeiters have not lost time in faking it — police across the country have seized around 38,000 fake notes in the past one year with Gujarat topping the list.

The speed with which the fake currency racket started printing counterfeit Rs 2,000 notes could be gauged from the fact that authorities seized 3,199 such notes within 50 days of its existence — between 9 November 2016 when it was introduced and 31 December 2016.

Official statistics show that 34,728 fake notes with a face value of Rs 2,000 each was seized in the first 11 months of 2017 with Gujarat topping the list in both years.

While 6,397 notes were seized in Gujarat since demonetisation was announced on 8 November 2016, the north-eastern state of Mizoram had seizure of 5,827 notes followed by Uttar Pradesh (5,243), West Bengal (2,876) and Kerala (2,648).

Karnataka also finds a spot in the top ten list with a ranking of nine. The seizure was 1,831 such notes, including 255 in the first 50 days of the introduction of the notes.

Officials said the seized fake notes of Rs 2,000 and other denominations are of “low quality, such as scanned or photocopies of genuine notes”.

Rs 2,000 fake note seizure between Nov 9, 2016 and Nov 30, 2017


No of Rs 2,000 fake notes

Face Value



Rs 1.27 crore



Rs 1.16 crore

Uttar Pradesh


Rs 1.04 crore

West Bengal


Rs 57.52 lakh



Rs 52.96 lakh



Rs 42.26 lakh



Rs 41.72 lakh



Rs 38.36 lakh



Rs 36.62 lakh

Tamil Nadu


Rs 36.52 lakh

All India


Rs 7.58 crore

Another interesting point is the continuing seizure of Rs 1,000 notes, which were rendered illegal after demonetisation. This year 66,284 notes of Rs 1,000 denomination has been seized with Delhi (40,363) and Gujarat (22,515) topping the list.

Overall, police forces seized 2.66 lakh fake notes of various denominations, which has a face value of 18.80 crore, this year till November.

The statistics for the first 11 months itself has crossed the 2016 figures on face value. While the number of notes seized was higher at 2.90 lakh for the whole of 2016, the face value was lesser at Rs 16.55 crore.

However, the number of cases have come down to 658 this year from 1,217 in 2016. Senior officials claim that it was due to strong vigilance set up that act as a deterrent.

They said strengthening the security at international borders using new surveillance technology, deploying additional manpower for round the clock surveillance, establishing observations posts along the international border and erection of border fencing and intensive patrolling have also helped in tackling the menace.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Dec 31, 2017)

BPRD not adequately equipped, govt wants a rehaul


Amid realisation that the country’s ace police think thank is “not adequately equipped” to meet future challenges, the government is now looking at overhauling the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD).

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has now invited an Expression of Interest (EoI) for preparaing a detailed project report on restructuring the think tank from “reputed and expert” government institutions.

The move comes as the government feels that the efforts of 47-year-old BPRD are “yet to fully meet the huge expectations” and a need for re-structuring has been “strongly felt” in various quarters, a senior official said.

In May this year, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh himself had spoke about the need for restructuring the think tank to make it vibrant for police and prison services.

“In contemporary world, the expectations from police have grown manifold. Many spheres of human activities, hitherto unknown to police system, have now come into the fold of policing, due to global cyber village fast transforming our lives. As a result, the mandate of a premier research organisation, which the BPR&D is, needs to be revised and it has to incorporate all those areas which policing of future is expected to focus on,” the notice inviting EoI said.

It went on to note that the BPRD, with its present mandate and human resources, is “not adequately equipped to meet the future challenges” of policing and prison services. This “strongly calls” for a thorough overhauling of the existing machinery of research and development through the intervention of technology and human resource development.

Earlier this month, the BPRD had said it was planning to set up a research centre in a leading academic institute to promote knowledge creation and policy analyses in criminal justice system arena. It felt that research could be better conducted and more useful results can be obtained through such a centre.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Dec 26, 2017)

2018: Will there be peace in Kashmir, Who will rein in cow-vigilantes?

What progress a government-appointed interlocutor will achieve in Kashmir, how will a law on triple talaq evolve, who will rein in cow-vigilantism and when will India get Vijay Mallya extradited?

Next year, all eyes will be glued to these issues as well as those of the fate of Rohingya migrants, fallout of Ayodhya hearing in Supreme Court and the twists and turns in Indo-Pak relations.

The security establishment will still also have its eyes set on naxal and north-east insurgency fronts too, though no spectacular attack took place this year leaving the forces upbeat.

While first half of 2016 went without any major incident, the unprecedented terror strike on Amarnath pilgrims in July will remain a black mark on the government, as it once again proved that the forces were still not on top of the terror machinery.

Government sought to put pressure by squeeze the separatists through a National Investigation Agency (NIA) probe into funds they allegedly received from Pakistan for triggering trouble in the valley besides offering several sops. But peace is yet to return to the Kashmir valley, as people are still taking to the streets, there is no let-up in militant strikes and more security personnel are losing life.

While acting tough on one front, government made a surprise announcement in September appointing former Intelligence Bureau chief Dineshwar Sharma, an old Kashmir hand, as an interlocutor to deal with the issue. With this, the government subtly changed its goal post from ‘no-talks’ to talks with all stakeholders, a euphemism for involving separatists in the process. However, Sharma’s outings in the valley have not earned much so far.

Task is also cut out for the government in reining in cow-vigilantism and right-wing groups using the bogey of love-jihad, a description used by Hinduvta elements to describe marriage between Muslim man and Hindu woman, to target minority communities. A Muslim labourer from Bengal was killed in Rajasthan with the accused claiming that he was preventing ‘love-jihad’.

Though it could put the onus on states saying law and order is a state subject, the central government would have to face flak if they do not manage to curb such incidents, especially in BJP-ruled states. Another contentious issue would be the formulation of a law on triple talaq following a Supreme Court making it illegal.

In early next year, officials also would have to burn midnight oil over dealing with Rohingyas, who have illegally crossed over to India following a purge in Myanmar. While the officialdom has taken a position that India cannot afford their presence, an adverse order from Supreme Court would have egg on its face.

Another question that would bother the security establishment would be the early conclusion of deal with NSCN(IM) on Naga issue.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald website on Dec 24, 2017)

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