NH-53: Drivers Face Treacherous Terrain And Cops’ Harassments Reporter’s Lens Capture Hitherto Untold Tale

IMPHAL, Oct 1: After frequent cases of State police force thrashing drivers and levying unauthorized tax on passenger as well as good carriers along National highway-39 have been reported in the media, the same trend is being enacted randomly along the Imphal-Jiribam stretch of NH-53, where vehicular movement has increased manifold as transporters have resolved against plying on the Imphal-Dimapur section. Amid a series of complaints aired by transport operators that personnel of the State police force had been forcibly collecting unauthorized tax from the vehicles, a media team witnessed police brutality in full view at Keithelmanbi (west) police check post, today.

As the media team was returning after covering a specific event, a police personnel at the check post, which is located along the NH-53, was seen gesturing to a truck driver to get down from the vehicle. as the driver did not comply with the ‘˜order’ immediately, the police per- sonnel picked up a stick from the roadside and started to cane the driver before a CRPF personnel on duty intervened, thereby preventing further assault of the driver.

when the truck finally resumed its journey towards Imphal after about five minutes of stoppage of all vehicular movement on the Highway due to the thrashing, the media team enquired the reason for the police brutality to which the driver confirmed that he was thrashed because he had questioned why entry-tax is being levied and this made the police personnel livid with rage.

The driver Balbir Singh (not real) also revealed that police personnel manning check posts on NH-53, from Jiribam upto Imphal, used to insist on payment of Rs 10-20 as ‘˜entry tax’ from every vehicle failing which the consequence is either scorn, for the luckier ones, or physical assault, the latter being more common.

Numerous instances of the men in uniform insisting on entry-tax payment at police check-posts from Mao Gate upto Moreh had been highlighted in the media for the last many years, but there is still no information regarding punitive action being initiated against such rogue elements in the State police force.

When enquired as to whether the cumulative ‘˜entry-tax’ collected on a daily basis is a contributory amount to the State exchequer a top Department official pleaded ignorance. Moreover, information has been received that transport operators serving on both the NH-39 and 53 prefers movement along with security escort on a permanent basis as the vehicles need not stop at many of the police check posts.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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