IFP Editorial: The job of police is not only to maintain law and order but also crime control and investigation, besides prosecution.
Updated 1 Jun 2022, 7:37 pm
It is rather strange that some village chiefs of Tengnoupal district should object to the opening of police stations and outposts near the Indo-Myanmar border. They say, the Assam Rifles are competent and relevant enough to check and control movement of contraband drugs and to protect the border areas and its inhabitants while they do not have faith and confidence in the state police force because of rampant practice of bribery and involvement of state police personnel in peddling of drugs.
It is good that the village chiefs have full faith and confidence in Assam Rifles and it is a shot in the arm for the central paramilitary force who often project themselves as ‘Friends of the Hill People’. The Assam Rifles here has twin functions, one that is of policing the Indo-Myanmar border and the other of counter-insurgency operations.
Well, they are doing a good job of frisking and checking besides patrolling the border. But, they are not regular police. There are so few police stations and outposts not only in the border areas but also in the hill areas. The job of police is not only to maintain law and order but also crime control and investigation, besides prosecution. The police force is one of the primary arms of the government and it has been assigned the basic duty of hunting down criminal elements and bringing them to justice.
In recent times, the reach of governance has greatly increased in the interior regions through sustained campaigns like Go to Village and the police force is an important agent in facilitating the reach of government and its services. There might be some bad apples among the police personnel, but that should not be a reason for refusing police stations and outposts wherever required. The case of police corruption and rogue elements in the force is not a case only of Manipur, but everywhere in the world. Most police forces are afflicted with this disease of police corruption and complicity in drug smuggling and peddling as well. Chief Minister N Biren Singh needs to have a plan for curbing police corruption if he wants to really succeed in his campaign.
In his second term as the Chief Minister, N Biren Singh formed an Anti-Narcotics Task Force (ANTF) just days after he was sworn in for the second time. Days after, the task force arrested two alleged drug dealers and recovered drugs worth Rs 1.9 crore in the local market and Rs 9 crore in the international market. And a sustained campaign has been going on which yields results every day.
Not only police but central agencies, including NCB and DRI have become very active. And police are needed for processing the arrests and seizures before bringing it to the courts for prosecution and punishment. As regards poppy plantation in the hills of Manipur, it is not the case of some ‘enterprising’ hill chieftain or businessmen or a venture which came out of the blue.
Drug lords with powerful connections here and across the border would certainly be involved in this, considering the spread of poppy cultivation. There is a joke going on in the social media that some of the poppy fields destroyed by police and other agencies are actually after the harvest. There is a need for maintaining a constant vigil in the border areas and gathering intelligence regarding illegal activities, including that of poppy cultivation in the interior areas. That is exactly why the state’s proposal of opening more police stations and outposts should be supported by one and all.