M.M. Mehta, former police commissioner of Ahmedabad (1992-95), has received the National Citizen's Award for his handling of the Baroda riots in 1991 and the anti-reservation riots in Surat in 1985. Mehta spoke to Outlook. Excerpts:
What do you have to say about political interference in police functioning?
In a democracy, you expect some sort of interference but not to the extent that you see today. The future of our officers today is not going to be very smooth. However, I am confident that if left to itself, the police force will do its job well. There should not be external interference from any quarter.
What is your reaction to the transfer of officers who acted against the rioters?
Shifting good officers at a time like this was totally uncalled for. It is unprecedented. In the past, during riot situations only lax officers were shifted. Capable officers must continue on their posts.
Do you think the police need a go-ahead from their political masters before taking action?
The law is very clear on...