The 25th Conference of DGPs, IGPs and heads of the Central Police Organisations (CPO) of the North-eastern region, a two-day conference got underway in Arunachal Pradesh capital town Itanagar on September 13, 2018. This year, the West Bengal Police Department is also taking part in the convention. Like any other years, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju also urged the security forces in North-eastern states to have a seamless coordination and intelligence sharing to ensure security of the region.
Like various heads and authorities, Rijiju also shares the view that it is utmost importance of coordination, cooperation and flawless intelligence sharing are crucial aspects for security among North-eastern states, the Union Minister also said though there are eight political units in northeast, they can work as one as far as security is concerned.
Rijiju also claimed that the security situation in the region has improved significantly in the last four-and-half years. He said the level of violence and casualty figures in the region have come down by more than 50 per cent.
Further, he said the Assam Rifles Academy at Diphu in Assam’s Karbi Anglong has been identified for specialized training of the Northeast police in counter insurgency operations and National Investigating Agency (NIA) has been conducting training modules for North east police for investigations of terror related cases.
Rijiju also took the opportunity in complimenting the forces for successfully handling the complex issues over the years leading to improved security scenario in the region, he acknowledged that security issues and policing in the northeast are little unique and challenging, considering the fact that the states in the region share borders with countries like China, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Bhutan. Due to its geographical situation and exposure to international border, the region has to deal with not only internal but also external problems.
However, this is not the only time the Union Minister has stressed on such intelligence sharing, coordination, but at ground reality, even the Inter-state council - a recommendatory body to investigate and discuss subjects of common interest between the centre and states or among the states for better coordination of policy and action, should also trash out differences relating to inter- state border disputes, which is the main stumbling block for coordination.
While rest of the States take North East as a single entity, back home not only States are fragmented but inter districts within the State have issues internally too, leading to unrest and non - cooperation amongst the tribes and administrative authorities. The personal ego and poor governance too needs to be removed before discussing on challenging the terror threat in the region.
All the eight Chief Ministers should meet with open mind and not to resort to blame game and hidden agendas. The political will to set one’s own State in order is a must before talking about coordinating or sharing of information with other States. In most cases, the State government refused to accept the unrest or break down of Law and Order due to armed struggle in their respective State; this attitude will only betray the very concept of coordinating with each other.
For decades, the region refused to acknowledge the presence of Sleeping Cell of national and international militant outfits here. Simply closing one’s eyes and refusing to see the undercurrent threatening the peace and tranquility of the region is damaging enough; it is futile to move after the crime has been committed, like the Central Government springing into action only after the Burdwan blast by Jihadi groups.
A few years back Rijju, who after his inspection and review on the security along the Indo- Bangladesh International Border, at Dawki, in West Jaintia Hills District said that the Centre has prioritized making functional the Integrated check post at Dawki (Meghalaya), the third such post in the country, after Wagah-Atari along the Indo-Pak border and Agartala in the east bordering Bangladesh with banking and customs office under the same infrastructure.
The incompetence of either Customs officials or the security forces at the Border keeps hitting the headlines. More than improving the service conditions or equipping them with better infrastructure, the Central Government’s proposal of making functional the integrated check post at Dawki will only put more pressure to the existing manpower.
The Central Government must work out strategies on how to gel up all the eight states in the region with some common interests like Inter- State trading, exchange programme as good will, and open up job opportunities for the region. These will automatically force the administrations and governments to synchronize. Unless the youths are provided the opportunity, all the coordination programmes will have no meaning. Like it is impossible to preach a hungry man, similarly it is impracticable to expect harmonization by masses of the region when unemployment is increasing day by day.
At the same time, the North Eastern region has always felt alienated from the so called Mainland India, accused of Step-motherly treatment by the Central government. Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi has been making an attempt to rewrite this perception since 2014. It was too much for the people to consume as he made an attempt to open up the region, first putting Meghalaya in the map of Railways, as he flagged off the first passenger train from Dudhnoi in Assam to Mendipathar in Meghalaya. Secondly, he compared the northeast region to Goddess Lakshmi, saying development of the region will help the rest of India.
In an attempt to remove the mediocrity concept, the Prime Minister, while on a four state tour of the region said “Vaastu Shastra” claims that if one keeps the Eshan (northeast) corner of a house in order, it boosts the prosperity of the house. Similarly, he believes that if we can keep India’s northeast in order, it would help the rest of the country also.
Modi never shied away from accepting that North East has been destabilized due to the influx of Bangladeshis, while committing to seal all porous Indo-Bangla border as his first step to the development of the northeast region, and assured the people of Assam that the land swap deal with Bangladesh will stop illegal infiltration and not compromise their security.
He also shocked all the Police Departments of the region when he quoted the figures that since independence 33,000 police personnel have sacrificed their lives for the nation, which is not small. Their sacrifices should not go in vain. He urged respective Police Thana and State police to document the sacrifices as exemplary cases for others to follow.
Regarding modernization of Police Department, Modi stressed on development of Human Resources and confidence, and not just infrastructural setup, as he said: “more than weapons, the potential lies with the one who carries it”. He also urged the people to change their perception towards police.
It is indeed too much to chew at one time, as the Prime Minister showers everything within three days of his tour. The myopic mindset of the people from outside North East will also find it difficult to gulp down too many assurances at one time. Especially the Indo-Bangladesh land swap, which he says will benefit Assam, at the same time, will stop illegal infiltration. Which also means the vote banks of many political parties will be plugged; police will also be forced to perform, especially in combating terrorism in the region.
Yes now performance is a must and not just such conferences, which repeatedly stress on flawless intelligence sharing for better policing in Northeast with no constructive results till date, hence the meet should also introspect on the failure to perform.