Depoliticise the Police: Ex-Top Cop Julio Ribeiro on CAA Protests

“Must prosecute police who vandalised property,” says ex-Mumbai CP Julio Ribeiro referring to UP police.

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On 5 January, masked goons unleashed violence inside Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in the national capital. Delhi Police came under severe scrutiny after many alleged that they stood as mute spectators when students and teachers were being brutally beaten. In Uttar Pradesh, cops were caught on tape vandalising shops, vehicles and CCTV cameras on 21 December in the aftermath of anti-CAA protests.

As protests rage against CAA, NRC and NPR across the country, former Mumbai Commissioner of Police Julio Ribeiro says the police must be depoliticised immediately to ensure law and order.

“People don’t expect the police to be politicised and if you find that they take action as per the law and according to the facts of the case, many things will improve – the law and order, the security climate, all that will improve. But, unfortunately, the process of depoliticisation of the police has not started.”
Julio Ribeiro, Former Mumbai Police Commissioner and Punjab DGP 

Speaking about how the police should learn the art of dealing with students who have been spearheading the protests against CAA and NRC, Ribeiro highlighted the importance of communicating with them.

“You have to have that kind of sensibilities or feelings like, ‘Look, these are young people who are going to be future leaders and they have their own way of thinking’. Let us go down to that way of thinking and talk to them on that level. I think the police should learn how to deal with students.”

He added that the police should use minimum force.

Condemning the act of police vandalising shops, vehicles and CCTV cameras in Uttar Pradesh in December, the former police commissioner said that the cops should be prosecuted for their act of damaging property.

“Normally, they should be prosecuted for robbery or for whatever the sections of law are applicable for destruction of property. Nobody is allowed to do that but if people who are supposed to uphold the law themselves do it, then, there’s nobody to catch them. It’s absolutely state terrorism, and this is something that I have not seen earlier.”
Julio Ribeiro, Former Mumbai Police Commissioner & Punjab DGP 

Ribeiro also added that cops should have self-respect and must stop approaching politicians for appointments and transfers.

“Cops should have some self-respect. They have got a job to do, they should do it properly. If they go on approaching politicians for transfers and appointments, sometimes so that they could make money and sometimes just for the sake of importance, I think they should stop that. Stop the habit of approaching politicians for appointments and transfer because then the people today have understood it,” he said.

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