A ‘Conference of Police and Civil Societies’ organized by the Nagaland Police department deliberated on how to strengthen ‘community policing’ to restore law and order, peace and safety and security of citizens in a state like Nagaland run by “parallel governments” apart from the constitutionally elected state government.
The conference held at Town Hall, Dimapur on 18th February 2012 witnessed a brainstorming session on ‘community policing’ in Nagaland that prevailed in Naga society before the advent of the British into Naga soil, but eventually eroded over the years.
DIG (Range) Nagaland Armed Police, Toshitsungba, in his power-point presentation on ‘Community Policing in Nagaland’ highlighted the then British India passed the Act of 1937, which recognized community policing in Naga Hills. The DIG (R) said the Village Guards founded in 1956-57 is also a part of the community policy.
It also raised questions on complacency of administration and police, “misinterpretation of crime and national duty” relating to acts of underground cadres, “parallel” governments and courts and whether there is lack of political will or direction. Suggestions for debate in the power-point presentation also included: Nagaland today needs an administrative government rather than a developmental government- priority of Govt. should be administration followed by development; all stake holders of development department, VDB and Village Councils should be made accountable for maintenance of Law & Order and development; Police and public relation needs improvement; DCs and SPs can be given a role in developmental activities so that they have direct contact with villagers and general public. Another suggestion was that municipal and town councils should be given certain responsibility and accountability for maintenance of peace and tranquillity in their respective locality.
Home commissioner, Nagaland, J Alam, in his address lauded the police department for taking initiative to organize the conference and said that it was a new model of the ‘PPP’ mode (Public -Private Partnership) and termed the conference as “Police-Public Partnership.” The Home commissioner assured that if there is people’s “will” to control crime, the government “will” is already there. Alam however cautioned that civil society and public should not take law into their own hands even if they are dissatisfied with government agencies in certain cases or incidents. He said public and government agencies should work together or the result would be total chaos.
State DGP, O. Alem, said that it is only appropriate that members of civil society and police spend some time and listen to each other. “Conferencing is one thing but understanding and resolute decision to see the good points are taken in by all forums irrespective of the confines in different constitutions of respective society. That is homogenous. Go on the city is yours. Just get way from self righteousness and cheap popularity,” the police chief told the civil society.
Former DC Dimapur and Commissioner of Excise, Maongwati Aier, who also spoke on the occasion stressed on equal participation of police, administration and civil society for effective community policy to combat social evils plaguing the state and Dimapur in particular. Describing alcohol and drugs as the root cause of most crimes, the Excise commissioner updated the gathering on the seizure of drugs and alcohol made by the department.
Leaders and representatives of civil society in Dimapur and others including Naga Council, Dimapur Municipal Council, Dimapur Chamber of Commerce & Industry, GBs Association, Muslim Council, Bar Association, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Naga Women Hoho and Marwari Samaj also gave their view points.
Earlier, Additional DC Dimapur, S Khro, in an introductory note admitted that community policy introduced (or re-introduced) two years back is yet to be successfully implemented in the state.
IGP, P.F. Zeliang, senior police officers, district administration officials and host of civil society representing all sections and community in Dimapur attended the conference which was chaired by SP Dimapur, Z Mero.