Law and order last on UPA's agenda: Badal

Amritsar, Dec 22 (IANS) Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal slammed the central government Saturday, saying law and order was last on the agenda of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA).

Reacting to a "total breakdown" of the law and order machinery in New Delhi, Badal said that instead of taking preventive action against criminals, the union home ministry was only reacting after criminals strike.

Badal made the remarks while addressing the concluding session of the First All India Commissioners of Police conference here Saturday.

Badal, who is also Punjab's home minister, said that the seriousness of the union home ministry in maintaining law and order and tackling crime could be seen from the fact that it has earmarked only Rs.1,000 crore for modernisation of police forces of 28 states and seven union territories.

"It is keeping its eyes shut to increasing threats of terrorism, Naxalism and criminals using cyber techniques to attack the unity and integrity of the country. To tackle crime, police has to move two steps ahead of the criminal's mind. But instead of taking preventing action, the union home ministry believes in beating around the bush after criminals have struck," Badal told police officers attending the conference from major cities.

He said the home ministry failed to read the signs of unrest amongst a section of the public, which was exploited by Naxal elements, and spread to nine states and 260 districts.

Badal said that the rape of a 23-year-old woman in a moving bus in south Delhi Dec 16 reflected that policing in New Delhi has gone for a toss. He said simmering anger against police apathy and inefficiency has erupted on the streets of New Delhi.

Badal decried the cane-charge and use of tear-gas on innocent students, who are protesting at Raisina Hill, India Gate and Janpath in the national capital Saturday.

He said Punjab would soon modernise its police force and Rs.100 crore had been sanctioned for this.