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.
Home Minister is a tough job only if you are accountable. The IFP will not post anything on a political solution involving ISC. As with all other press they choose not to report her words if it violates any directive from any man of power in Imphal. PP admitted this when he first left Imphal on sabbatical lamenting the death of all the real scribes with integrity. He had to check in with a member of the family running the Police Commandoes regularly and on those days his calls would not be taken he would run around in a panic trying to make amends. Hitler sulked too. It made the Vichy regime in France the most draconian because they anticipated what he might ask and did far more against their own people than the Nazis extracted from lands they ruled directly. The IFP are beginning to talk the talk. Will they offer the people a way to gain accountability. Visit Lamphel on the fortnightly habeas corpus hearings. Police reps and front organizations are the only others who come for now. Write her asking her to stand for the 2014 elections. Mr G doesn’t become accountable merely because you point out he has failed to deliver on his first major pledge. He won’t deliver on development either unless you all agree that means spread the bribes a little more equitably.
There is a tale from the 1001 nights which will hit Imphal Central Library once it gets past the censors and then she has read it. The tale of a vicious creepy dacoit who has 41 others hold up in a cave. He tries to stash his latest victim there a clever slave girl. She manages to break free and upon entering the capitol she is declared absolute leader, some custom. Interesting tale if it helps in the IFP reporting news rather than propagating more propaganda and in the people ridding themselves of the thieves and rapists who have been raping their mother land these past 65 years then job well done. Or of course you could continue to blame the British Raj we are talking about the one from the last century previous millenium, my my what good memories you have, you forget nothing you learn nothing. I am sure someone has been frightfully upset by my inelegant prose, and wants me to guess the subject of their contemplation. To save bandwith frankly I don’t give a damn. Internet is a great idea but until you rid yourselves of corruption it won’t go farther than Bangalore. So IFP scribes while your boss is still away how about publish something that might bring the change you seek. Or keep blaming the British or the Mayangs taking an adult path sounds difficult and it might not work, or it might not be enough. True true.