TODAY -

Empower security forces to tackle perpetrators
- The People's Chronicle Editorial :: June 09, 2023 -



THE masses seem unimpressed with the clarion call given by Union home minis-ter Amit Shah to return the firearms and ammunition looted/snatched from security forces, preceded by similar appeals from the chief minister and the security advisor to gov-ernment of Manipur.

Such defiance, in-spite of being fully aware about the consequences if found in possession of unauthorised firearms, sum up growing public's distrust on the estab-lishment, especially security forces deployed in strife-torn and sensitive areas.

Prior to out-break of the communal violence, Manipur had 6-7 years of total peace and harmony there-by raising hope among the masses that the state is poised to see all-round development.

Moreover, with stability in the law and order situation, state and central forces focussed on winning the people's trust and cementing the healthy relationship.

Compared to the past when sight of men in military uniform reminded one of the volatile years when every citizen was suspected to be an insurgent or sympathiser of banned outfits and subjected to random frisking and questioning, the last few years had no significant presence of security personnel in public places with exception of those escorting the so-called VIPs.

The few years of relative peace also witnessed central forces concentrating on conduct of civic action programmes, health camps and anti-drug cam-paigns in the underdeveloped areas and rural pockets subsequently enabling the security to understand plight of the deprived section of the society.

The notable improvement in the situation was also the main factor for a tiny state like Manipur to host various major prestigious events.

However, since May 3 up to now the state has been passing through one of the worst times forcing state and central forces to come out of the comfort zone, literally.

With the civilians taking up arms to fend for themselves as well as launch offensives, the task for the security forces is no more confined to preparing for the traditional duty of battling the trained insurgents but conducting combing/search operation to disarm the civilians without which it is obvious that the cycle of violence wouldn't cease.

Officially, as many as 57 arms, 318 ammunition and five bombs were recovered in a span of 24 hours as on Wednesday taking the total number of recovered arms and am-munition to 868 and 11,518 respectively.

When decision to launch the search operation was made public few days after the riots broke out there were suspicions that the intention had ulterior motive especially in the backdrop of well-armed militants targeting the Meetei civilians and the central forces deployed in peripheral villages unable to stop vicious attacks.

There were even reports that state's forces were ordered against taking on the perpetrators.

It's also on record that Manipur police commandos fired the first shots only after one of their colleagues got killed in an attack by suspected Kuki militants in a village under Bishnupur district.

Thus, as mentioned earlier in this column, security forces, including the police, should be empowered to respond befittingly against the assailants, be they from the Meetei or Kuki community without which proliferation of arms and violence would be difficult to stop.



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