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K S Subramanian’s book is a well-written and scholarly work dealing perceptively with the problems of growing political violence in the country and the failure of the Indian police to combat it….Subramanian’s scholarly book will be a valuable addition to the literature on police issues in India. His analysis is lucid and cogent and illumined by his wide-ranging study and comprehension of police problems and dilemmas in other countries of the world.
[This book] is well-documented and well-written….a good addition to the literature on the study of the Indian state, the police and the Intelligence Bureau.
The author…talks of the increasing political violence in India that is challenging the government’s ability to resolve conflicts democratically….The book concludes with suggestions for police reforms.
The book is significant because it helps challenge the narrow confines of the public debate on police reform, which invariably descends into politician bashing and, therefore, see reforms as freeing the police from their clutches….it is a splendid reference book for anyone interested in understanding the role of police in the Indian state and society.
A retired IPS officer, who stood out as a conscientious cop throughout his career, calls India…a seemingly democratic State that is highly militarised, using exceptional brutality against its own people while still picking up leaves from old colonial hand book….It is not often that one finds a senior police officer (albeit retired) writing about the army, police and paramilitary forces while, at the same time, calling a spade a spade. For this reason, K S Subramanian’s book makes a remarkable reading.
In case studies of regions and communities affected by political violence, Subramanian takes the reader behind the scenes—whether it is on police partisanship in the communal pogrom in Gujarat, the official approach to the Naxalite problem, the violence against dalits and adivasis, or the violation of human rights in northeast India.
In this clear and highly informative book, K S Subramanian, a former police and intelligence officer and an accomplished scholar, shows how, from the very moment of Independence, the new political bodies swiftly ensured that law and justice were replaced by law and order; order, namely established power, wealth and authority, was to be maintained by any means and at any cost.
With the clinical detachment of a highly skilled surgeon, Mr Subramanian has laid bare the innards of the Indian state with all its frightening ugliness. Sinister attributes of the state which he has so adroitly and masterfully revealed would fascinate, nay, hypnotise any discerning reader….Chilling, compelling and controversial it should be compulsory reading for all the entrants to the Indian Administrative Service and the Indian Police Service. Even if one disagrees one must know what one was disagreeing with.
The separatist movements in the peripheral regions that question the very legitimacy of the Indian state’s dominance were spawned by a variety of post-independence developments. It is such a landscape of violence that K S Subramanian portrays in the book under review together with, and this is what adds immensely to the value of the work, the response of the Indian state thereto.
K S Subramanian provides a comprehensive, well-balanced analysis of the history, organisation and contemporary functioning of the central police forces (including the Intelligence Bureau). This is an up-to-date, insider perspective from a person with broad administrative experience, who is also sensitive to human rights issues.
It does not strive to make sensational disclosures or generate a shock. The book offers a methodical and near-comprehensive analysis of issues that confront the security of institutions which the author refers to collectively as the “Indian police system”. His analytical tools are manifold but inter-related….The net result is a unique historical perspective that brings together academic evaluation of the macro issues on the security front and a distinctive perspective that encapsulates an understanding of even organisational matters at the micro level.