ABSTRACT

The British relied on the Indian Army to quell the 1857 revolt. Attempting a cheaper substitute, they designed a police structure in 1861 based on the Irish colonial constabulary model. The inherited police system was rejected as having ‘lamentably failed’ to accomplish the ends for which it had been set up; ‘all but useless for the prevention and sadly inefficient for the detection of crime’; and ‘unscrupulous’ in the exercise of authority with a ‘generalized reputation for corruption and oppression’ (Kannabiran, 2004: 77). The 1861 police, a centralized paramilitary structure, had specific features (Arnold, 1986: 232-5): strict subordination to the civilian administration; increasing ties between the state police and the central government; expansion of the intelligence network and its secrecy and political importance; unaccountability to the public; coercive strength and disposition and frequent use of high levels of state violence; institutionalization of a paramilitary wing within the police structure; and close identification with propertied interests. The intelligence structure too had specific features. Created first in 1887 in response to the emergence of the Indian National Congress in 1885, it was formalized as the Intelligence Bureau (IB) in 1920. Its main job was to collect, collate and interpret political intelligence bearing on the security and stability of the State. It remains their basic regressive function today neglecting security of the people. Public order maintenance was the second priority of the Indian police and intelligence agencies. The investigation and detection of

crime was relegated to the third position of priority and remain neglected even today.