NIPSA in 2010
The Network of Improved Policing in South Asia (NIPSA) successfully completed a year of functioning as of October 2010. Launched formally in October 2009 following the South Asian Regional Roundtable (organized by CHRI in New Delhi, October 2009) whereby the idea was mooted and supported unanimously, NIPSA has since grown tremendously in its reach and scope. Created with the intention of bringing together like-minded individuals and organizations to catalyze interest in, understanding of, and demand for, police reforms, NIPSA has over the year developed a sound knowledge base on policing in the region. It has further provided a platform for practitioners and civil society alike to interact with each other in a bid to better understand the challenges facing democratic policing. It has been able to achieve this through the dogged efforts of its member organizations in the region (Bangladesh, the Maldives, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and India) giving NIPSA a truly regional character.
To begin with, NIPSA has been able to develop a dynamic, user-friendly website to serve as a resource tool on the subject. In this regard, NIPSA’s approach has been to work closely with regional partners to help secure national documents and relevant research on policing from the respective countries. The resource base built over the past year is intended to help spread awareness and knowledge about policing across the region, and serves as a base upon which NIPSA hopes to build in the coming years.
Another noted achievement of NIPSA has been the monthly newsletters that seek to review topical issues relating to police as well as critique the existing legal framework governing policing from a human rights perspective. Since its launch in October 2009, NIPSA has issued 13 newsletters covering a range of topics including laws governing preventive detention across South Asia, practice of encounter killings, registration of FIRs, prevention of torture legislations, police response to marginalized communities, experiments with community policing and so on. Inviting writing from the region has once again encouraged varied perspectives on the subject and helped in making the newsletters truly regional. The newsletters are available on the website and are widely circulated to the government, civil society, media, legal professionals, and academics. Social networking has proved to be an invaluable tool to the network in terms of outreach. NIPSA has heavily employed Facebook as a tool for advocacy since the middle of 2010 and through it has come in touch with many people who actively work on the issue over social networks. The swell in the number of participants/members of NIPSA can in part be attributed to social networks.
Bolstered by the support of, and interest among, its partners, NIPSA successfully conducted two events in 2010 – an online conference in July from 5-10 July, and its second South Asia Visiting Programme in from 14-19 November 2010. With regards to the online conference, the theme was “Community Policing,” and the portal was kept open 24 hours as a result of which registered users could post comments and initiate discussions at any given time. Through the moderation of CHRI, discussions were initiated on different themes drawing on experiences from the region as well as best practices internationally. Low on cost and convenient for participants, the online conference proved to be an instant success. Even serving officials, who are typically very busy and unable to travel particularly in the region due to strict travel regimes, were able to participate and thereby enrich the discussions. Several international experts further added to the quality of the discussion. Although such online conferences does tend to limit participation to only a particular section of society with access to the internet, the plus side is that it allows every person wishing to share something the space to do so without any time-constraint or the pressures of public speaking. Ultimately, the organizers felt that the range of voices and perspectives brought forth was truly noteworthy.
The second South Asia Visiting Programme was our flagship event in 2010. The programme sought to expose participants to police reform efforts and programmes in India with a view to further the learning of professionals engaged in the field. The participants included Dr. Hala Hameed, member, Police Integrity Commission, the Maldives; Advocate Sipra Goswami, member, Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (Bangladesh); Mr. Nash’ath Mohamed, member, Maldivian Detainee Network (the Maldives); and Mr. Amit Ranjan Dey, member, Nagorik Uddyog (Bangladesh). (The participants from Pakistan were unable to secure visa unfortunately). This was done through a number of meetings in Delhi (such as with the NHRC and a human rights lawyer). In addition, participants were taken to Kochi to interact with the Kerala police and learn in depth about its community policing programme, Janamaithri Suraksha Samithi. For more information on the visiting programme, click here.
Perhaps the most pleasing and surprising outcome from NIPSA is that it has facilitated interactions with new organisations and persons working on issues relating to the police. While it attracts many western experts looking to gain a regional perspective, it also enables exchange of ideas on myriad issues and has benefited CHRI in furthering its own understanding of contentious issues like policing, accountability, rule of law and human rights. Tremendous challenges lie ahead for NIPSA in terms of structure and organisation. NIPSA would like to improve its website, punctuality of newsletters, follow-up with social networks and instant news delivery to its users. Moreover, it also seeks to activate its discussion forum in order to invite and encourage active debates on topical issues round the year.
NIPSA would like to thank the following for their valuable contribution to the network in 2009-2010.
- Mr. Prakash Singh IPS (Retd)
- Mr. Anup Kuruvila IPS
- Mr. Asad Jamal Lawyer (Pakistan)
- Mr. J.C Weliamuna Transparency International, Sri Lanka (Sri Lanka)
- Mr. Basil Fernando Asian Human Rights Commission (Sri Lanka)
- Mr. Muhammad Anwar Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives, Pakistan
- Ms. Gulmina Bilal Ahmed Individual (Pakistan)
- Ms. Amber Alibhai SHEHRI-CBE (Pakistan)
- Ms. Sara Hossain Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (Bangladesh)
- Mr. Arafat Hosen Khan BLAST (Bangladesh)
- Mr. Kazi Ata Ul Osman BLAST (Bangladesh)
- Mr. Kumar Koirala Police Reform Programme (Bangladesh)
- Mr. M.Nur Ul Huda Bangladesh Police (Retd.)
- Mr. Ashok Kumar IPS
- Ms. Shahindha Ismail Police Integrity Commission (Maldives)
- Mr. Abdullah Phairoosch Maldives Police (MPS)
- Dr. Hala Hameed PIC (Maldives)
- Mr. Ahmed Irfan Maldivian Democracy Network (Maldives)
- Adv. Tajul Islam Lawyer (Bangladesh)
- Mr. Sayeed Ahmed Ain-o-Sailesh Kendra (Bangladesh)
- Mr. Salar M.Khan Lawyer (India)
- Mr. Omair Ahmed FNF South Asia (India)
- Ms. Navaz Kotwal CHRI
- Mr. Sanjay Patil Ex-CHRI
- Ms. Diya Nag CHRI
- Ms. Tennille Duffy CHRI
- Ms. Garima Mohan CHRI
- Mr. K.S Subramaniam IPS (Retd.)
- NIPSA would also like to thank Swayam Mohanty (CHRI), Himanshu and Mohit Verma (Shine), Ms. Katrin Bannach(FNF), Mr. Anand Kumar and PK Prasad (CHRI), and Mr. Sanjay Patil (Ex-CHRI).
- NIPSA content has been managed by Mr. Sumant Balakrishnan (CHRI) since 2009, and the editor is Devyani Srivastava (CHRI).