Seeking independent and fair policing, four civil society organisations on Wednesday criticised the “partisan manner” in which the political establishment in Uttar Pradesh “misused” the police to create rift and disharmony between communities in the State.

Addressing the media here, the Foundation for Restoration of National Values, Common Cause, Member of the People’s Police Campaign and The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative called for keeping the police independent of the political class.

“We strongly denounce the partisan manner in which the political establishment in Uttar Pradesh has misused the police in order to foment disharmony and communal discord in the State rather than allowing the police to discharge its constitutional duties without let or hindrance, and ensuring public safety and security, and preventing the tragic loss of life and property,” the groups said in a statement.

Referring to the recent riots in Muzaffarnagar, they said the clashes were avoidable and the loss of lives in U.P. was a glaring example of how the “political executive misuses the police for its own narrow and partisan ends, even if it means working against the larger interests of the citizens”.

The police and political executive are both bound to work together to prevent and investigate crime, maintain law and order and ensure that the people have a well-functioning essential service that protects life, property and liberty, the groups put forth. “For policing to work in an efficient, unbiased and responsive manner, the roles, powers and responsibilities of each entity involved has to be properly articulated. A careful balance has to be struck between legitimate ‘supervision’ of the police by the political executive and illegitimate interference and influence that has been so blatantly visible in Muzaffarnagar.”

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