New Delhi May 9: Delhi Police received both bouquets and brickbats during a maiden interactive session between its top ranked officers and representatives of the North East at Hindi Bhawan here today.
Though praises were showered on initiatives taken by the Delhi Police, numerous questions were raised about the lack of sensitivity among the police rank and file when it came to dealing with cases linked to people from the North East.
There was also no clarity on the notification issued to create the North East Cell to tackle problems faced by people from that region.
The cell has been set up in two barracks with hardly any furniture, manpower, logistics or financial power. The coordinator-Joint Commissioner of Police Robin Hibu-appointed by the Union Home Ministry has no authority.
Add to this is the fact that of 82,000 cops in Delhi, only 41 hail from the North East, and are holding insignificant positions.
Delhi Police Commissioner Bhimsen Bassi was conspicuously absent, while Special Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Deepak Mishra, the chief guest, reached an hour late, reflecting their degree of sensitivity towards the North East issue.
However, the brainstorming session recorded the expectations of the North East people, raised prominently by this correspondent, who wondered how long it would take to recruit about 400 personnel of all ranks from the North East region to the Delhi Police as directed by the Delhi High Court, and why the jurisdiction of the North East cell is yet to be notified?
Supporting this correspondent was Air India pilot Captain Govind S. Honjan, who suggested greater recruitment of women cops from the North East.
“Don’t treat us as criminals, but as victims,” said corporate lawyer Ingchina, who hails from Nagaland, while accusing Delhi Police of insensitivity.
She cited her personal experience at a police station as the reason for her stand.
When The North East Today Editor-in-Chief Pradyot Bikram Manikya Debbarma charged the Delhi Police for identifying those arrested from North East in prostitution cases by their states, reflecting complete insensitivity, Mishra quipped that police only rescue such victims, and don’t arrest them.
Advocate Liyi Marli Noshi from Arunachal Pradesh hinted at the harassment meted out to North East people by landlords in Delhi who do not sign any contract, but raise rents every six months.
“Don’t discriminate NE people,” said Sentisingla Longchar, Assistant Professor and HoD (CSR), Lady Harding College, and said that if defence forces could go to remote North East districts for recruitment, why not Delhi Police.
In 2003 for instance, recruitment was advertised for a vacancy in Guwahati-based newspapers. There should be 50 per cent reservation for woman in Delhi Police to increase their presence, while the 41 cops from the North East should be well-placed to help the people of that region, she added.
Another woman demanded fast tracking and designated prosecutor to deal with rape cases.
When Prashanti Moktan of Eastern Sky Media hinted that there were only two women of the 33 North East representatives identified by Delhi Police, Mishra assured that he would look into it.
Mishra, on behalf of the Delhi Police, honoured good samaritan Delhites and cops who had gone out of their way to help people from the North East in distress.
He also launched the Facebook (delhipolicefornefolks) for North East people to communicate effectively.
Earlier, Hibu, in his address, exhorted the gathering to serve as ambassadors for their brethren and adopt a positive attitude.
“We have to walk together as India belongs to us. Blaming ignorance, lack of knowledge and language barrier for cases of discrimination,” he said would be pointless.
He said the Delhi Police stands for zero tolerance on cases of malafide intention.
He cited the example of how as a young officer in Mizoram he felt discriminated, but that gradually disappeared.
Joint Commissioner of Police Sanjay Benita said ethnicity, cultural diversity and geographical divide creates such problems.
“Stop having the feeling that all of you are victims, as you have equal rights like any other citizen of India. Let us fight it together”, he added.
The Delhi Police initiatives include meeting North East representatives every month, setting up of police out posts in areas inhabited by North East people, Setting up a North East cell with 15 personnel, under the authority of a Deputy Commissioner of Police in Nanak Pura, Maintaining a data bank, fast tracking court procedures on rape cases and BPO/call centres have to mandatorily drop women employees at night at their homes.
About 6,000 North East people registered as voters during the last general elections. The Delhi Legal Service Authority appointed five North East lawyers as counsellors, activated a 24×7 helpline 100/1093, created a woman help desk at every police station in the city, plain cloth cops deployed to nab eve teasers, women cops patrol vulnerable areas, NE Cultural Centre at Delhi, self-defence training for NE women and coaching for competitive examinations proposed, among others, as highlighted by Hibu though a PowerPoint presentation. By Pradeep Kumar (ANI)