National Security Advisor Ajit Doval on Thursday said that the police are the enforcers of the law and a “democracy fails if they fail”, PTI reported. His remarks came after 53 people died in large-scale communal violence in parts of Delhi between February 23 and 26, raising questions about the effectiveness of the police in responding to the situation.

“Law making is the most sacrosanct job in a democracy and you are the enforcers of that law,” Doval said at said at an event organised by the Bureau of Police Research and Development, a police think-tank under the Home Ministry. “If you are not able to enforce the law, then making of that law is immaterial. A law is as good as it is executed on the ground.”

Doval added that it was important for the police to gain people’s trust and for that, they must create the right perception. “It is the perception that provides confidence to people… if they feel they have a police which is alert, efficient, honest, objective, professionally competent, and friendly,” he said, according to The Indian Express.

Doval said the enslavement of society had led to a “contempt” for those in authority, of which, as an “instrument of the government”, the police force was also one. He said that this contempt took the form of resistance and led people to “set police vehicles on fire”. He added that technology can be an important tool in enhancing the credibility of the police.

The national security advisor, given the task of restoring law and order by Home Minister Amit Shah, had visited North East Delhi on February 26, three days after clashes broke out between the supporters of the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act and those opposing to it. He had spoken to residents and expressed confidence in law enforcement agencies.

The Delhi Police have been accused of either inaction or complicity in some instances of violence, mostly in Muslim neighbourhoods.