TODAY -

Editorial of the week

Policing the Commandos
Courtesy: The Sangai Express 11th April, 2007



Ever since the law and order situation in the State came to be identified solely or mainly with militancy, the role of the police and the crack Commandos has come under the public scrutiny and not without reason.

At the moment, the State Government has ordered a Magisterial Inquiry to get to the bottom of the killing of three youths under contrasting claims a few days back by Imphal West police Commandos at Kwakeithel and while the matter of establishing the facts is best left to the inquiry commission, what is important is to study the image of the police, particularly Police Commandos.

Tackling militancy is not an easy job and the Police Commandos have to tread the fine line of executing their duty while at the same time striving to ensure that their action is not misinterpreted or seen in the wrong light.

In other words, winning the faith and confidence of the public is as important as arresting or eliminating militants or busting their camps and seizing their arms and ammunition.

Protest at Tiddim Road against the Police Commando firing


Despite the handicaps, which include shortage of man power and political interference, we believe that the Police Commandos have done a decent job in containing the activities of militants, at least in Imphal but what is starkly evident is the point that not much importance has been given to winning over the faith of the public.

This is where some sort of a training is required not to alienate the public from the Commandos.

Picking out the militants from the general public will obviously be a tough case and this is where the role of the intelligence agencies gains prominence and stress need to be laid on proper co-ordination between the intelligence agencies and the Police Commandos who are out there on the field.

It is not only a question of why and when Police Commandos open fire and cause controversial deaths and injuries, but also about the overall behaviour of the men in khakis. To the general public, Police Commandos are generally seen as a nuisance to be tolerated.

Far from generating a sense of security, the arrival of Police Commandos at any specific locality sparks tension and fear and not without reason.

Addressing the general public as if they are their orderlies, barking out orders without any respect for the sentiments of the civil population, roughing up passers by for no rhyme or reason and at times, extorting money from shops and the general public, have become synonymous with the Police Commandos.

A sincere look at the functioning of this crack anti-insurgency force is the need of the hour.

It needs to be drilled into the heads of each and every personnel that the uniform they wear should command respect and that they are not in the position to demand respect.

The guns they use were bought from the tax payers' money and it cannot be used to bully the public, is a point that should be repeated time and again.

A public alienated from the police and the Police Commandos can only be to the loss of the State and we certainly feel that if the confidence, trust and good will of the people are won over, then half the battle against militancy would have been won.

This is not a very tall order, we presume, but to the Police Commandos, for whom arrogance and throwing their weight around has become second nature, it may just prove to be too tall.

This is the tragedy.





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