TODAY -

When Frankenstein's monster acts as a law unto itself
- The People's Chronicle Editorial :: February 17, 2024 -



WHAT happened in Churachandpur district on Thursday evening (February 15), where a large mob of Kuki-Chin people first stormed and ransacked the office Superintendent of Police (SP) and later on vandalised the Mini Secretariat building apart from setting on fire two vehicles of the Rapid Action Force (RAF), is hard to be seen as just some outburst or angry protest over the suspension of a head constable of Manipur Police Department attached to Churachandpur district police after he was caught posing with armed miscreants at one of their bunkers atop a hill from where they target the villages of Meetei located at lower ground.

After a video clip in which head constable Siamlalpaul was seen taking selfie with armed Kuki militants went viral on social media, SP of Churachandpur district Shivanand Surve, issued on order on February 15 to place Siamlalpaul under suspension as per Rule 66 Part-Ill of Assam Police Manual (APM) for initiating a departmental inquiry against him.

The order made it clear that what head constable Siamlalpaul had done "tantamount to very grave misconduct, being a member of disciplined police force," and during the period of suspension, his headquarters shall be Reserve Line, DHQ-Churachandpur and his pay and allowances would be restricted to the subsistence allowances admissible as per the Rules.

So, when the mob stormed and ransacked the office of the SP, their main intention was not only to secure the release of the head constable and force the SP to revoke the suspension order, but also to show to the world what they could do if anyone tried to go and work against the wishes of the Kuki-Chin people, which obviously is not the sign of abidance to the Constitution of India and obedience to laws derived from it that every Kuki-Chin leader and organisation has been trying their best to portray right from the very beginning.

It is true that this is not the first time that personnel of Manipur Police belonging to Kuki-Chin community have been seen rubbing shoulders with armed miscreants and Kuki militants during the course of the ethnic conflict between the Meitei/ Meetei and Kuki-Chin community which has been going on since May 3 last year without any sign of abatement.

There have been many other such viral videos floating on various social media platforms, some of which have now been deleted/taken down following the Siamlalpaul case, but no appropriate action had been ever initiated.

On the contrary, the government of Manipur had even announced payment of Rs 10 lakh as ex-gratia in the controversial death of a Sub-Inspector of Manipur Police belonging to Kuki-Chin community, named, Onkhomang Haokip, who was shot dead while coming out from a bunker manned by armed Kuki militants at Chingphei Ching in Churachandpur district during a gunfight with the security personnel on September 13 last year.

The leniency that has been shown far too long towards not just the activities of armed Kuki militants but also to the questionable conduct of police personnel belonging to Kuki-Chin community, who, while still enjoying their monthly salaries and allowances dispensed from the state coffer, are working against the interest of the state government, has led to a situation where people of Kuki-Chin community have come to live under the impression that they are invincible and no body, whether it be the central security forces or the long arm of the law, would be able to touch them.

So, instead of admitting to acting as a law unto themselves by the Kuki-Chin people, it is laughable when the Indigenous Tribal Leaders' Forum (ITLF) has held SP Shivanand Surve and Deputy Commissioner S Dharun Kumar responsible for the February 15 night mayhem and said that the two high ranking officials have "turned out to be key instruments inserted by the communal Chief Minister N Biren Singh to create problems in Churachandpur district."

Perhaps, it's time for the Modi government in New Delhi, to borrow the words of jaideep Mazumdar, associate editor at Swarajya, to give priority to "eradicating Kuki militancy" by empowering the state to tackle it, before the "Frankenstein's monster" goes out of hand.



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