TODAY -

Selective silence
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: July 11, 2009 -



So, finally the Chief Minister, Mr O Ibobi Singh, seems to have woken up to the fact that something horribly wrong is going on inside the confines of the high walls of Sajiwa jail, where a number of convicts and under trial inmates are incarcerated on different charges.

That it took the gruesome murder of a young man, Yengkhom Krishnadas to make the Chief Minister admit that there indeed is something seriously wrong inside Sajiwa jail, perhaps sums up the story of how insulated the Government has been from the ground reality.

The announcement of the Chief Minister, on the floor of the Assembly on July 9, that mobile jammers would be installed inside the jail so that no communication can be made from within the jail through mobile phone is welcome, though late.

That Sajiwa jail has become something of a haven for a number of criminals has been the worst kept secret of the State and it is surprising to see that it took so long for the Chief Minister, who also holds the Home portfolio, to realise that something concrete needs to be done.

Everyone knows the story of how Sajiwa jail was raided, on the basis of the interrogation of Ashalata, the woman alleged to have received the ransom amount of Rs 25 lakhs from the family members of Y Krishnadas.

Everyone knows how SIM cards were seized from the possession of Th Nando, a man named by the Chief Minister as the king-pin in the abduction and murder of Krishnadas. And it also stands true that Sajiwa jail has been raided many times earlier during which mobile phones were recovered from the possession of some inmates.

It also stands true that some under trial prisoners as well as convicts were running extortion rackets from within the jail and it was this factor that had led to the earlier raids at the said jail.

One does not have to be a Sherlock Holmes to infer that a number of extortions, attacks, intimidations and abductions were scripted, planned and directed from within the confines of the jail and it is a big disappointment that no note worthy crackdown has been launched by the State Government till date.

At best, the raids at the jail were knee jerk reactions, dictated by the pressure of an issue or damage control exercises. Given the self denial mode of the Government, it was commendable of the Opposition leader, Radhabinod Koijam, to question whether Sajiwa jail has become a headquarters for criminals or not.

It is when the Opposition bench begin to drill the Government on such pressing issues, our belief in the institutions of democracy, gets renewed.

Chief Minister O Ibobi has assured the House that steps would be taken up to clip the wings of the rogues inside Sajiwa jail, but as is customary of the State Government, not a word was spoken about what it plans to do with officials who connived with the rogues.

Even a Grade II child will be able to tell, that no matter how ingenious one may be, it would be well nigh impossible for anyone to get hold of a mobile phone inside a jail, without the connivance of the jail officials.

Does the silence of the Chief Minister on this point mean that all the jail officials have been given a clean chit ?

If this is the case, then there is no room to believe that the Chief Minister meant what he announced !

It is this selective silence that worries us and makes us skeptical about the whole thing.





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