Can politic stoop lower than supplying inferior bullet-proof vests to police

Written by Meghalaya Times. Posted in Editorial

Thomas Lim
One of the most inhumane act was exposed when the Officer in - Charge of Bordumsa Police Station in eastern Assam’s Tinsukia district, Bhaskar Kalita was killed in an encounter with the Anti-talk faction of United Liberation Front of Asom-Independent (ULFA-I) militants on May 4, 2018 evening. Kalita was injured in his chest and abdomen even though he was wearing a bullet-proof vest; he succumbed to his injuries during an intense gun battle.
Reportedly, two persons, including an ULFA-I member, were killed in the exchange of fire between the police and the militant outfit. Earlier, an intense gunfight took place between a combined team of Army, Police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) jawans and suspected cadres of ULFA-I at Kujipathar area of Bordumsa.

Assam Chief Minister, Sarbananda Sonowal, within 48 hours has ordered a probe into the alleged poor quality of bullet-proof vests used by police. Assam Additional Chief Secretary Kumar Sanjay Krishna will head the probe. Sonowal while strongly condemning the killing of Kalita said that such incidents disturb peace, harmony and unity in society and seriously hamper developmental activities. Reiterating his government’s zero tolerance against terrorism, the Chief Minister also directed police to intensify operations against extremists.
An Ex-gratia of Rs 20 lakh will be given to the bereaved family, apart from the full salary every month till the time the police officer was slated to retire from service.
Director General of Police Kuladhar Saikia said that it was learnt that a lot of bullet-proof vests like the one used by the slain officer were procured during 2011-13. He also added that the department will have to check records and find out the truth. Saikia also informed that anti-terror operations had been intensified along the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border.
The incident has sent shock waves to the general masses, and the moral of the Assam Police is shaken. It is well known that every individual expects the Police personnel to protect them from any untoward incidents, protect the government properties and provide security to the general public form all forms of external forces. But, if the qualities of bullet-proof vests used by police are indeed being compromised due to kick-backs, it demanded strongest condemnation, as it has endangered the lives of the personnel who is protecting the society.
Unlike other countries, be it for Police or Defence, the Ruling government always makes sure that they receive the best in terms of equipments, facilities and social security, it is not just in the state of Assam, but across India, where the State Home Department, as it is the state subject, are given a free hand for all procurement. However, it is not expected that they will be endangering the life of their own personnel by compromising on the quality of bullet-proof vests used by police or any other safety equipments, arms and ammunition.
The situation is not isolated only to the Assam Police; it is perhaps the same in all the states, particularly the North Eastern region, where every individual state has its militancy issues which are state centric. While the outfits are operating in coordination and assisting each other, while the elected government cannot work together, which has led to full – blown militancy in the region and can be rightly stated that they have surpassed the Police Departments.
It is indeed strange why the North Eastern region Police Department, actually the department across the nation, does not work on the agreed sharing of Intelligence information of inter-states in tackling militancy and other inter-state crimes, while the Prime Minister, Narendra Damodardas Modi is talking of sharing information with United States of America and other countries in tackling world terrorism.
As an initiative to revamp the Police Departments in the region, there are no orientation programmes for the Police Department, except the officer ranks; all the subordinate ranks are serving the department under pressure due to lack of security in absence of better arms and ammunitions, basic facilities like housing, health care, water supply and rations, worst so are the condition of the constable ranks. The officers, on the other hand, expect the uniformed men to simply follow the order without questioning. And the result is the case of Officer in – Charge of Bordumsa, who lost his life suspected to be due to inferior bullet-proof vest he was wearing, was issued by the department!
While the general masses are pinning their trust on the Police Department for maintaining day to day Law and Order, and security, while the very same person’s life have been endangered due to the vested interest or call it for the greed of kick-back by compromising the safety of our Police Department.
Such practice is not only confined to Police Department. Actually, every department of the state government is practicing this, whereas, the general masses, who voted them to power, are immune to all such corruption have encouraged the elected members and bureaucrats to practice in such inhuman activities.
If one expects to have better security system, the public should voluntary come out to stop all political appointees in all government departments. Like in the case of the above-mentioned case wherein vigilant villagers nabbed one of the escaped militants and handed him over to police on Tuesday afternoon after thoroughly thrashing him. On the part of the state government, the modernization of the Department does not mean only acquiring better arms and ammunitions, vehicles and wireless handset for the personnel while on duty; the improvement of Human Resources should be the top priority. Otherwise, many more of the dedicated Police Officers will be sacrificing their life just because of the human error caused with intention.


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