Internal security safe with limited federalism

The Opposition discourse is often dominated by allegations of trampling federal spirit of the Constitution.

Published: 24th July 2022 05:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd July 2022 09:22 AM   |  A+A-

The Opposition discourse is often dominated by allegations of trampling the federal spirit of the Constitution. The refrain is that the Centre brazenly interferes in matters of crime and law and order, agriculture, education and land acquisition that are state subjects. Besides, it keeps filling its coffers at their cost to directly transfer financial benefits to farmers, the sick, poor and those who are living without a roof over their head, power and water—all for garnering votes.

The CBI, ED and NIA are also extensively misused to falsely charge Opposition leaders with corruption and criminal cases to destabilise their governments. Evidently, they are not interested in introspecting why the Centre is compelled to deliver welfare benefits directly and go after the corrupt and divisive forces. 

Given India’s conflict-ridden history, the Framers of the Constitution had wisely invested more powers in the Centre to prevent the country from sliding into chaos and disintegration. A Raja of DMK to note. States by now have accepted the use of Central security forces for this purpose, but when Delhi steps in to rein in massive corruption and a major breakdown in law and order, they cry hoarse.

They would rather like their pliant police to control crime and maintain order because policing is a state subject. But the Centre cannot be a spectator when chief ministers use police to acquire illegal money and pursue sinister electoral agendas. Unfortunately, policemen also find it convenient to collude with politicians and apply the law unfairly to protect their careers. A few, however, still dare to swim against the tide, though they count little.

It’s a pity, we have chief ministers who support illegal immigrants, Islamists, Khalistanis, Naxals, separatists and terrorists. Their role during recent communal riots, terror acts, mayhem over hijab, aazaan, Agnipath, CAA and farm laws betray their mindset. They don’t care that illegal immigrants have changed the demography in Assam, Tripura, Bihar and West Bengal, and terrorist modules, ISI sleeper cells, Islamic radical units, foreign-funded disruptive groups and money-launderers are operating all over the country to destroy its stability and economy. West Bengal, Rajasthan and Punjab have even problems if the Centre extends the operational jurisdiction of the BSF up to 50 km to check cattle smuggling and infiltration of terrorists, smugglers, weapons, drugs and illegal migrants. The Centre has really no choice but to come hard on them by using its agencies and security forces.

The irony is that internal security primarily depends on state police, but states refuse to give it operational autonomy lest police officers refuse to carry out their illegal orders. Till there is a change in the situation, a strong Centre will always be needed to prevail over erring states. A weak one will only compound problems. 

Amar Bhushan

amarbhushan@hotmail.com

Former special secretary, Research and Analysis Wing



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