(Late) C Peter Ngahanyui - An Interview done in 2000
'A good society gets good police': C Peter Ngahanyui

By Witoubou Newmai *

Some ten years ago C. Peter Ngahanyui, Additional Director General of Police, government of Manipur talked to Witoubou, editor of Newmai News Network and it was published in a newspaper on August 21, 2000. The IPS officer passed away on December 21, 2011.

 C Peter Ngahanyui
C Peter Ngahanyui - Pix :: Sangai Express

Witoubou: What is your opinion about POT Bill?
Peter: POT Bill 2000 is actually another form of TADA.

Witoubou: Is it that necessary?
Peter: You see, the police have enough laws to maintain law and order situation.

Witoubou: You said the police have enough laws but we don't see any improvement regarding law and order situation.
Peter: It is improving. It has improved a lot during the last couple of months.

Witoubou: Tell me in clear-cut way whether POT Bill 2000 is that necessary.
Peter: It is not necessary. The police force has enough laws to contain criminal activities or whatever need be. You see, a lot of human rights groups are also opposing this Bill.

Witoubou: Yes, of course, there is a tremendous pressure from the human rights groups to scrap the POT Bill 2000.
Peter: Yes, the humans rights groups are also against POT Bill 2000 as it s not necessary. Mind you, I am not siding the human rights groups.

Witoubou: Moving away from the POT, now the Manipur Police Department is going to get Rs 1000 crores for police modernization. What are the priorities in the process of modernization?
Peter: You see, the police modernization is a scheme worked out by the Central Government to give assistance to the financially poor States of India. Besides, modern equipments, other priority will be giving training to the police force in a special way to deal with problems.

Witoubou: Specify your point.
Peter: Say problems like insurgency and other law order problems. Youn see the Centre has made it very clear over the years.

Witoubou: Clear in the sense.
Peter: To deal various problems. This is not the first time that the Centre has given assistance to our State Police Department. This has been going on for the last six years or so.

Witoubou: And what are the means of assistance?
Peter: Well, the means of assistance include whatever amount the Chief Minister accorded is by way of nobility, vehicles, by way of arms and ammunition and freezing of those out-dated rifles.

Witoubou: And replace them by AK series.
Peter: Yeah, that is true. We are gong for AK series. Then the wireless sets. We need to have very efficient wireless communication. For example, your Tamei. These wireless sets are not only for the police force but for the public too who are living in remote areas. They can use these in the police station when there is an emergency. So we have come to the assistance of the general public also. Above this, we also assist the VIPs or the Minister when they tour the entire areas backup is necessary in communication. We also need a lot of vehicles.

Witoubou: That is all about equipments, what about the training?
Peter: Yes, training is also a part of it.

Witoubou: What do you say regarding the mode of functioning of the police force here in Manipur? Is it out-dated?
Peter: I don't say that, but it is up to the mark. You see we have to update ourselves.

Witoubou: OK you tell me, do you think that Manipur police commandos are far-headed in combating insurgents?
Peter: No, we are always one step behind the criminals or the insurgents. You see, dealing with insurgents is not the normal law and other situation. So we have to equip ourselves well. You know, right now we are gong for special training. We will train a group of commandos in a unique way and distribute them in all the districts. In case of emergency we can use them. Of course, presently we trained commandos in Thoubal district, Bishnupur district, yes, all the four valley districts. In all these four districts we have separate commando units. For the hill, of course, we have not been able to do so.

Witoubou: So are you planning to deploy commandos in the hill too in the near future?
Peter: Yeah, but you see, if you go strictly operational wise, hill have the armies. Moreover we require more commandos in the valley districts, you see.

Witoubou: Oh! You still required more commandos in the valley? You see, at present Imphal has already become a police city.
Peter: Well, this is a situational requirement. As a journalist, you are more aware. You see, insurgents are out at night, no police man can be seen at night.

Witoubou: Are you saying that police commandos are not operating at night?
Peter: Yes of course, we are trying to operate systematically, 9 in the night also.

Witoubou: I am sure that police commandos will commit more atrocities if you do so. You see, your police commandos have been committing accesses on the civilians as they operate.
Peter: Yes, I agree with you that they sometime commit accesses on the civilians. But you cannot blame only the police commandos, the security forces also commit accesses.

Witoubou: In such cases as a senior police officer, what do you tell the commandos?
Peter: In such cases, we instruct the concerned authorities to have enquiries. At such juncture, normally, there is an intervention from the Government side also. But, you see the undergrounds also commit accesses.

Witoubou: What measures can you suggest to avoid such cases?
Peter: You see, we are trying to curtail as far as possible.

Witoubou: Curtailing the police power?
Peter: Yes, in all the activities or say in police operations we are trying to send a senior police officer to check this trend.

Witoubou: To check the commandos misusing of their power?
Peter: Yes, to avoid all these accesses committed by the commandos. Three months ago we have given one additional SP for taking charge of the commandos only so that we can check the police activities. We don't want to let loose these commandos alone freely. Inspite of all these, committing accesses will take place and from the undergrounds side also. We cannot prevent it.

Witoubou: That is to suggest that law and order situation is not going to improve because the more accesses from the police, the more protests from the public and hence lots of noises in the city.
Peter: Yes, yes the law and order situation has been improving during the last two months and it will continue to do so. These accesses committed by the commandos are rare exceptions, you see.

Witoubou: The DGP of Manipur Grewal told me that he was trying to change the attitude of the general public toward the police force, that police are their friends, like the one which is going on now in Delhi under the banner, 'Friends of the people.' But I don't see any change still now. Alas any step been done on this matter. I feel that the police force is becoming more aggressive rather.
Peter: You see, a society gets the police it deserves, is it not? The society itself has to be aware of the situation and they should know the purpose of the police. A very bad society will get a very bad police, if a society is good the police will be good. When the society is bad and the police perform their duties. You cannot blame the police. Here in Manipur, of course, we are trying our best that the police force does not misuse their power. If the police are good the society will also reciprocate, is it not?

Witoubou: OK what kind of opinion do you have on our society here in Manipur?
Peter: As far as my personal views are concerned, our society in Manipur has the scantiest respect for life. Our society has no value for life. This is as very bad trend and I am worried about it. If a society has no respect for life then what kind of society is that? Respect for life should be with the commandos as well as the public. So I think it is a mutual thing if we want to improve the relation between the people and the police force or the security forces.

Witoubou: Do you think that Armed Force Special Powers Act, 1958 is necessary in our State?
Peter: This Act is necessary as far as the police functioning or the security forces are concerned. But say in the hills of Manipur, we have been living under this Actsince 1958. Hs it improved the conditions? I don't think so. Now even the Government of India is also reviewing the method of dealing problems and felt that insurgency is not a law and order problem but t is a political one. So it is to be solved politically. One thing is that we the police force are trying our best, you know, like a good fire-man, to put off the fire wherever the flames come up.But this is not the solution. Any kind of Act like TADA, POT etc. is not the solution.

Witoubou: So there is something else much deeper.
Peter: Yes, there is something else much deeper than this which required political acumen so that the problems are solved.

Witoubou: So the Armed Forces Special Powers Act is not necessary.
Peter: I don't say that it is not necessary. It is only an aid, an assistance to function in a certain manner to arrest the culprit. But it is not the solution.

Witoubou: OK the last issue. Kindly comment on the CRPF and the police badmouthing each other regarding the Lamdan rape case. Why the police did not want a DNA test of the sample collected and opted for forensic examination?
Peter: You know, there is a system. We believe is a system- a criminal administration. We have a separate system for various cases which deals with murders, rape cases, theft etc. I don't know why the CRPF want to go public. As you are aware, a rape victim, there is a stigmas already attached to her. This stigma, as Manipur is a small society, is all the more abhorrence. So, why should that woman have said that she had been raped or agreed to say that she was raped unless there is some truth behind the allegation. She has a family, a husband and probably children. She would not dare to say that she was raped if she was not raped. So we are investigating the case according to the appropriate system. But I don't know why the CRPF authorities are going public on this.

Witoubou: The police have opted for forensic examination. Isn't it better with the DNA test?
Peter: This Lamdan case is a normal case. There is nothing extraordinary about it. We have got everything in our forensic science laboratory at Pangei.. I don't know why the CRPF wants to make a mountain out of mould.

Witoubou: So DNA test is not necessary?
Peter: It is necessary.

Witoubou: Then why the police refused to have DNA test?
Peter: No, we have already sent all the samples to our Forensic Science Laboratory. Ours is a full-fledged laboratory so all the necessary steps will be done.

* Witoubou Newmai (Editor of Newmai News Network) conducted this interview. This article was published in Hueiyen Lanpao (English Edition)
This article was webcasted on January 01 2012.

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