It has been close to 3 months since Gaikhangam took charge of the Home Department and he had promised a people friendly police force and police reforms in his first exclusive interview with the IFP. He had asked for 3 months time for the task in hand. Yet we are unable to see any positive change in police functioning as he grapples with crimes involving personnel of the state forces. Right from the rape case of a woman involving IRB personnel to the recent case of car hijack possibly involving some police personnel, the Home Minister has been confronted with several other cases and issues. We understand that it would take time for a complete overhaul of the system embedded in corruption and brute mentality inherited from the days of the British Raj. Yesterday’s lathi wielding Daroga in khaki shorts with rolled up mustache has given way to the new age smart policeman severally armed with modern weapons and hi-tech equipment. But the tough talk and the brutality remain and the general public still does feel secure when they see a policeman. The fear and mistrust is there deeply embedded in our minds. The general population could not imagine justice coming from the police while on one hand the policeman could not shake off the inherent suspicion of everyone who crosses their path. These, in fact, are the ghosts haunting the minds of our public and the police. Herein comes the necessity of a ghost buster with commitment and political will. There are three sets of policeman including semi-policemen in the state. The first is the regular policemen manning the police stations armed with SLR rifles and sometimes AK series rifles. The second set is the police commandos as they are usually known armed with various sophisticated weapons and hi-tech weapons including machines which can tap phone conversations and armed with unspoken special powers. The said ‘silent’ powers had led to a series of fake encounters in the valley including that of the June 23 incident of Khwairamband Bazar in which a young housewife was a victim of collateral damage and a former militant was killed in a staged killing. The secret photos which ultimately got published in the Tehelka magazine led to a CBI inquiry which unraveled the truth of the tradition of fake encounters in the state. The incident led to a focus of both the national and international media on the staged killings in the state and brute behavior of the state forces. The third set is the Village Defence Force (VDF) the number of cadres which had crossed the 10,000 mark. One could imagine the problem of emerging arrogance of the top brass of the force due to its sheer number of personnel under its command and the problems of keeping the house in order. One of the most basic problems has been in the housing sector in which police stations and outposts do not have enough infrastructures to accommodate the huge number of policemen and other subordinate forces. Next to the inadequacy of proper housing for policemen and others, the problem of sexual frustration come in for lack of family lines in the battalions and posts, police stations and outposts. This has led to crimes including sexual involving personnel of state forces. The problem will not be solved simply by punishing the personnel involved in sex crimes but by addressing the problems which had led to the increase of such crimes among the personnel. Likewise, how do you tackle the issues of indiscipline among the ranks and corruption in the police stations and among the police commandos? This has been a serious issue of policing in the state for ages. Another important issue is about the transfer and posting policy for the police in the state which is a major headache for the management of police force in the state. No policeman wants to be posted in the interior areas and they take it as a punishment posting. This has to be addressed. It is not easy to be a Home Minister, if one gets really serious about it. He must pull up his socks and act.