The challenge of dealing with terrorism is like none other since everything is on the side of the terrorist, ‘Super Cop” Julio Ribeiro, former Director General of Police, Punjab told Communalism Combat and Hillele TV in a special interview. Author of Bullet for Bullet that accounts the years tackling militant insurgency in the Punjab, Ribeiro spoke of how the entire system was in a sense terrorized or frightened into dysfunctionality. Recounting his experiences during his tenure in Punjab first as DGP and then as Advisor to the Governor, Ribeiro in this interview to Teesta Setalvad spoke of how out of the box efforts had to be made to reach out to villagers to wean away the terror and influence of the gun. “ I know that in my time, Jat Sikhs from several villages came to me and said they were not in support of the terror”, said Ribeiro and hence Operation Black Thunder was handled differently from Bluestar. The interview can be viewed at http://www.sabrang.com/cc/ccinterviews/JulioRibeiro.htm.
Terrorists do not care for the state, the rules that govern the state, they do not bribe cops like the underworld does, they shoot them. Explaining how in the most open and shut cases too, the judiciary let off the militants, the octogenarian policeman who remains a conscience keeper for the Mumbai police force explained how he had long discussions even with the Judiciary. The reaction of Judges was, ‘don’t bring these terrorists before us!” and hence the blame cannot rest only on the policeman. The lives of several judges were lost during the days of militancy.
On the issue of communalism and the politics of hatred, Julio Ribeiro was of the firm opinion that India’s electoral system, first past the post, facilitates the appeal for votes on the basis of religion or caste causing divisions within society. “We must reform the system so that candidates who get over 50 per cent of the votes polled have a face off; and are forced to seek support of one and all not just the one section as is happing now,” said Ribeiro. Besides the leadership of the Indian Police Service (IPS) needs to be trained to be egalitarian and non-discriminatory, to give meaning to the fundamentals of the Indian Constitution.
Secularism for me means keeping religion in the personal sphere and the principles goodness and justice in the public domain. Ribeiro has been active on issues related to the promotion of communal harmony through the Bombay Mohalla Committee Trust that he launched along with fellow travelers FT Khorakhiwala, former Commissioner of Police, Bombay, Satish Sahney and activist Sushobha Barve. He has also been a vocal spokesperson for reforms within the Indian Police Force.
The senior policeman also spoke against the Death Penalty which he says is never a solution to any crime and has never been. To the young man or woman who aspires to join the Police Force Ribeiro’s words of advise were” Join only if you want to serve, if you can deliver justice to the people. People will stand by you if you deliver justice. Then only will you have people on your side.”
Other reading Materials:
1. Who Is to Blame? Communalism Combat See http://www.sabrang.com/cc/comold/march98/page1a.htm
2. Report of the Ribeiro Committee (Critique) http://www.humanrightsinitiative.org/programs/aj/police/india/initiatives/analysis_ribeiro.pdf
3. Police Reforms in India http://legalservices.co.in/blogs/entry/Need-for-Police-Reforms-in-India
4. Mumbai gang-rape: Bombay was safe. Is Mumbai safe?, asks former Mumbai Police chief Julio Ribeiro http://www.dnaindia.com/analysis/column-mumbai-gang-rape-bombay-was-safe-is-mumbai-safe-asks-former-mumbai-police-chief-julio-ribeiro-1881256
5. Tiger Bal Thackeray dreaded the cage, cops the Tiger http://www.dnaindia.com/analysis/column-tiger-bal-thackeray-dreaded-the-cage-cops-the-tiger-1767373
6. What really happened at Azad Maidan on August 11?http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/column-what-really-happened-at-azad-maidan-on-august-11-1731988
7. Ready for reform http://www.dnaindia.com/analysis/main-article-ready-for-reform-1295661
8. Muslim IPS officers isolated: Ribeiro http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/Muslim-IPS-officers-isolated-Ribeiro/articleshow/6307894.cms
9. Julio Ribeiro versus K.P.S. Gill NA, May 27, 2002 http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/julio-ribeiro-versus-kps-gill/1/221345.html (“Gill can solve the Gujarat problem in a week but he will have to arrest VHP members and Muslim criminals. If Modi allows that, he will be signing his own death warrant.”
Julio Ribeiro Former Punjab Police chief