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Advani nod to police reforms

New Delhi, Oct. 4: Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani today said one of the major planks of the BJP’s 1999 campaign, that had swept the party to power at the Centre, was the promise of good governance.

In fact, a clean and efficient government was the BJP’s alternative to what was then seen as the Congress’ corrupt and inefficient ways, Advani said.

He was speaking at a seminar on police reforms organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative and the Editors Guild of India.

Hari Jai Singh of the editors’ guild asked: “As the deputy Prime Minister, can you tell us if you have the political will to reform the police force'” Advani assured the gathering that he and his government supported police reforms, but his perspective was different from the usual stand taken in such seminars. He said there was a general tendency to “put police in the dock” and criticise the force.

Advani said he did not agree with this view and pointed to the expanding role of the police and the valiant sacrifices of the force in its battle against terrorism.

The deputy Prime Minister said the tide against terrorism had turned when the police force really got into action. Today in Jammu and Kashmir, it was the state police that bore the brunt of the extremist violence, the minister said.

Advani said good governance could be provided only when there was good policing. He, however, acknowledged that despite his best efforts, police reforms could not be implemented in the centrally-administered Union Territories. Advani failed to give any plausible explanation either as to why they were not pushed through.

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