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EDITORIAL: Obsession With CI Ops… Losing Touch Of The Fundas

It could be due to a misplaced sense of priority or a failure to break free from the stereotypical understanding of a job profile or a wrong policy pursued by the Government but today the State Police Department stands exposed as a force totally inept in handling crimes which do not fall under the ambit of insurgency. The reasons are many and it does not need the mind of either an Einstein or a Hawkings to conclude that a major factor for this is the obsession of the Government to view the Police Department as a force which is there only to neutralize the activities of the insurgents. A look at any of the recruitment drive conducted by the State Home Department will leave no one in doubt about the point we are trying to drive home. The crack Commando team has been set up primarily to deal with militants and check their increasing activities, which range from extortion, kidnapping for ransom, threats and intimidations and at times plain acts of terror, such as planting a bomb in the midst of a crowded place or opening fire in civilian areas.

Given this prevailing mindset, it is therefore not surprising to see that any talk of police modernization inevitably centers around the idea of fighting the armed militants and while we do understand the pressing need to arm and equip the police force to take on the armed militants, it is at the same time disturbing to see that the police today is no longer equipped to dispense one of its most fundamental duties, which is the ability to solve crimes. The past decade or so will leave no one in doubt that the State Police today stand hopelessly out of touch when it comes to dealing with crime as understood in its conventional term. So while the Chief Minister and his men continue to live under the impression that law and order is only about containing the activities of the insurgents, we see a number of blood curdling crimes being committed right under our nose and the police hopelessly out of touch to crack such cases or investigate it to the satisfaction of the common denizens of the land.

The crimes may range from the high profile to the low key affairs and this include murder, kidnapping for ransom, rape, theft-which is most pronounced in the existence of a well organized gang of vehicle lifters, whose influence and reach extend beyond the boundary of the State etc. Such failures on the part of the law enforcers have a cascading effect and one of the more prominent outcomes is the increasing belief amongst the potential criminals, which include kidnappers, rapists or killers that they can walk away after committing a crime without being caught or brought to book. The direct fall out of such a state of public perception is the increasing cases of the people taking the law into their own hands and dispensing what they deem is justice! Such a trend is something much more than the cases of the mob mentality coming to the fore but is a significant indicator of how chaos and anarchy feed on the inefficiency of a system, where the police are seen as impotent as far as tackling crimes, which do not come under the understanding of insurgency, is concerned.

A look back at the last few years does not inspire any confidence and far from solving any crime, which stirred the collective conscience of the people, the failure to ensure justice and book the culprits has only gone to strengthen the belief that the cops are good only at eliminating suspected militants, that too after arresting them ! The disconnect between the men in khakis and the common people is thus complete and nothing can be more dangerous than this for a place like Manipur, where everybody and anybody can  pursue their personal agenda by taking refuge under the protective cloak of the “sons of the soil” aliases. Except for the sensational case of the murder of police personnel, SI Kumar, whose body was exhumed from the nearby hills of Heingang sometime in 2005/2006, no major crime has been taken to its logical end.

The motive, the modus operandi as well as the identities of the killers of Baby Lungnila Elizabeth continue to baffle the people and so did the kidnapping and killing of the two Senapati kids, Hrinii Hubert and Muheni Martin. Apart from James Kuki and Th Nando, no one seems to know what has happened to the case of Elizabeth. To the discerning public, implicating the names of James Kuki and Th Nando in the murder of the girl child seems to be nothing much more than firing in the dark. The story is the same in the case of the two Senapati kids and as things stand today, no one, least of all the State police, seem to know the identity and motive behind the gruesome murder of the two kids. There have been many other cases where the police have been found napping and the public may recall the murder of a young child whose body was found abandoned near the Chinga hillock some years back.

Justice was delivered in this case and no it was not the police, but the proscribed PLA, which managed to round up the killer and crack the case. So swift was the action of the outfit that it appeared to be an open and shut case and mind you when the killer was rounded up, the police was still fumbling in the dark! As it turned out, the child was killed for the earrings he was sporting! Another case that comes to mind is the lynching of a couple by a mob some time back on the ground that they were instrumental in assassinating a member of the local Panchayat. The jury is still out there in the open and the police do not seem to have a clue on the identities of those who eliminated the Panchayat member. Today the people of Manipur are yet to recover from the shock over the murder of a 4 year old child in Bishnupur district about three days back. As hideous as the crime was, there is nothing much to hope that justice will be delivered, given the track record of the State Police Department.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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