The gruesome murder of a van driver and an auto-driver in two separate incidents during the past one month or so agitated the public, particularly the poor drivers who earn their daily bread sitting behind the wheels. General strikes and protests were staged on both the eventualities. However, the processes of investigation into such crimes have not been made public so far. Whether the Police did the investigations effectively, whether any criminal has been booked and tried in the court of law - the public has been put in the dark in many cases of such nature.
Manipur is a small state with a small population, as compared to other Indian states. The Imphal city is flooded with uniform security personnel ranging from civil police, traffic police and village defence forces to the paramilitary forces such as Assam Rifles and CRPF. However, such a huge security presence could not prevent the recent bomb blast in the heart of Imphal city, killing nine migrant workers.
The pre-independence day twin blasts near the Chief Minister’s residence and the Palace gate were also ample proof of inefficiency of the security people. The installation of CCTV cameras in the city areas have been reduced to a farce, as they are not effectively utilized to prevent city crimes. The huge expenditure incurred in the installation of CCTV cameras have been a great loss to the government exchequer.
On the other side of the story, the more the number of uniformed personnel, the greater will be the consequence. At many points on highways and streets, a number of security persons in uniform take bribes from vehicle owners. Every passers-by in the city or any commercial drivers can stand testimony to this fact. Right from the public buses and trucks to the Auto-rickshaw and Magic-Tata, the uniform personnel do not spare any commercial vehicle. A careful handshake between the driver and the personnel manning the street with a ten rupee note is a go-ahead signal. It seems mandatory in the city areas.
Every political leader heading the home department always speaks of police reformation, manpower recruitment, police-public relations etc, on many occasions. Sadly enough, these phrases are mere words, never implemented in practical terms. Our police force needs to be trained on modern investigation techniques and be equipped with technologies to deal with various crimes. Quantity sans Quality is worse. It is high time the government brought a paradigm shift from numbers to quality.
In the national scenario, the highly effective electronic media news channels follow crimes and their investigations till the end. No related agency can remain adamant and inactive in the face of the news channels such as NDTV and the Times Now. The live telecast of ‘Newshour’ moderated by Arnab Goswami in Times Now is such a powerful platform, where serious issues and crimes are discussed with related political leaders, bureaucrats, social scientists etc. Its role in the recent arrest of Godman Asaram for the sexual assault case was worthy of appreciation and all media organizations need to imitate such endeavour.
However, in Manipur such an effective media can hardly come out for fear of various consequences – from both the state and the non-state folks. The general public also feels that a number of investigations have not been completed and justice has still not been delivered. It is probable that a weak police agency is taking advantage of a pressured media in Manipur.