Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday appealed to the people to respect policemen as they were "friends and not enemy", telling the force to handle violent situations calmly by remembering the advice of independent India's first Deputy Prime Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
Speaking at the 73rd Raising Day of Delhi Police, the Minister said that police ensures peace and security in the country without religion and caste considerations. Hence, he said, police needs to be respected.
"It (police) helps when needed. It is not an enemy of anyone. It is a friend in maintaining peace and tranquillity. So it should be respected. I appeal to the people that those who criticise the police should be heard. There is no problem in it. But, we should not overlook the fact that over 35,000 policemen have sacrificed their lives in protecting the country since Independence," Shah said.
He said that while people enjoy every festival during the year, a policeman's festival is to ensure public security. Policemen are always on duty without taking any offs on festivals like Holi, Diwali and Eid, he said.
Since 1991, Shah said, 30 Delhi policemen have died in the line of duty. He recalled the sacrifices of five Delhi Police Constables who lost their lives while protecting Parliament during a terror attack there on December 13, 2001.
He also mentioned late Delhi Police Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma who lost his life in the September 19, 2008 Batla House encounter with terrorists. Sharma was awarded the highest peace-time gallantry medal, Ashok Chakra, on January 26, 2009.
Pointing out that the Delhi Police was established by Sardar Patel, the Minister said that the force had managed to fulfil the expectation of the great leader who wanted it to be calm while dealing with provocative incidents and also ensure protection to the citizens from hooligans.
"Because of Delhi Police's alertness, the capital city is able to organise several big events," Shah said, adding that the force is now among the best police forces in the world.
Stressing on women security, Shah said that the Home Ministry has approved 9,300 CCTVs for Delhi Police for women security. The Centre has also provided 4,500 four-wheelers and 1,600 motorcycles to the force in different phases.
"I hope these facilities will improve Delhi Police efficiency to enable the force to ensure better security in the national capital."