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In Praise of the Manipur Police Commando

The great responsibility of the Manipur police commando is nothing but inspiring. Their approach to countering the civilians who are protesting for the implementation of Inner Line Permit system in the valley is a case straight out of the textbooks on police brutality.


One student has been killed and many people have been tortured ruthlessly. Do the police even know about this blatant discrimination of human rights and suppressing the people’s democratic voices?

[1] Police commando murdered Sapam Robinhood in a street protest [2] Photo from Inner Line Permit System in Manipur [3] The commandos are just following the orders. Photo from Inner Line Permit System in Manipur


How can a logical demand for a constitutional protection of culture and identity of an ethnic group can be so violent? There is no definite response to the question, but the brutality of the state security agency is an answer to everything that is wrong in the state. All over the world, the police is known equally for its loyalty and obedience. It is true that the local police have no sense of what is right or wrong, except to pay heed to the orders from their superiors. The master is the king. Period. Fourteen years ago, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) was thrown out on the charge of killing civilians in the wake of the protests for territorial integrity.

Then we could easily blame the union government and the CRPF for such nonchalance and criminal activities in the name of administration. Now, particularly after the repealing of AFSPA from the municipality area, the state police force has become the reincarnation of brute force that is a disgrace to humanity. The commandos, especially, have taken loyalty and obedience to a new high. In the same breath, last month, the deputy chief minister wailed in front of the media that the revocation was directly responsible for the killing of 18 impotent army men by rebels in early June 2015. In this situation, we can easily declare that many people (read the government, policy makers, nationalists and mercenaries) are having a great time. Carry on the blame game, divert the mind of the people from anything utilitarian, let the people be preoccupied with one crisis or another, while they—the inimitable power players—loot, murder or destroy everything that is against their whims and fancies. Obsession with power can be so obnoxious.

Here’s where the role of the Manipur police commando comes in. Most of the personnel are half-educated, slavish mongrels, who are unsure about the position of their heads and buttocks. With no proper education, principles and empathy, they are as good as a wet Moreh blanket that only serves for the shameless political class. All they know, besides their submissive nature to ringmasters, is that they have paid too much bribe for the police jobs. I don’t think this is related to their beastly conducts, but they seem to have instilled a sense of unbound authority after paying too much. Perhaps the deception of the state also bears directly on them.

[4] The commandos did not even spare a councilor; IMC Councillor A Romakanta was beaten up. Photo from Imphal Times [5] The kung-fu master in the most unlikely place. Photo from Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit [6] Might is right. Photo from Epao / Shankar Khangembam

In the name of lawlessness, the state has been focusing only on police departments and hospitality sectors for employment: two parties that are known for their disciplined conformity. The hotel–tourism people are out of sight for now. With the formidable development of militarisation throughout the region, it is though no surprise, how the commandos have put themselves on a pedestal. It is not only the provincial government but also the union who is instigating the police commandos. Lack of research and statistical data are their only face-saver. [In the US, according to Cop Crisis, the estimated annual cost of police misconduct to taxpayers is $1,800,000,000.] Irrespective of available records, it is an open secret that the legal immunity they enjoy plus the exemption from penalty and prosecution have made the police that we know today. Excessive use of force can never be a solution but for the Manipur police, it has become their divine guidance.

If I have to go to an ATM and withdraw a certain large amount of money, I have to be cautious that none of the commandos is sniffing around, because they might call me a rebel, kill me and insert a grenade in my wallet. It sounds fictional but it is not. Life imitates art out here. In the last few months as well, several foot soldiers have been arrested for extortion and bomb blast cases, which they have indulged in, but not before putting on the mask of the sons of the soil, who are fighting for the right to self-determination. These are not cases of a rotten apple spoiling the barrel but those of stinking unknown fruits in corroded barrels.  

The sole solution. Photo from Tucson Anarchist Black Cross

In their latest onslaught against the people, the police commandos have left no stone unturned to follow the orders from their masters, who have been jolted by the ongoing agitation for the Inner Line Permit system. Even if we can figure out that they are as faithful as shit-eating dogs, it is still strange how they can be so ruthless—despite knowing the sentiment of their own people, or at least, after always hanging around the street corners like owner-less mutts and observing the people. But again, how can they beat up people like hell? Are none of these dogs trained? Is the Manipur Police Training College in Pangei merely a centre for polishing the savagery in them? It can be noted that the incidents are not one-off cases but a trend over the years.

It is a shame that the people with their profession known for its discipline are engaging in sheer brutality. Intimidation has become their hallmark. Where is the rule of law? With their lack of accountability, they have put themselves above the law.  When those who are meant to safeguard the laws are breaking them, there is nothing to add further.     

The state should know that it is the authority. It has nothing to gain by stepping down to the level of the people, whom it supposedly represents, and opposing them with savagery when all it takes is authoritative but humane approaches. Otherwise, they should not be surprised if the entire establishment is turned upside down. Yes, there are people who can do it, and the guards a.k.a commandos will only flee and hide under the bed, leave alone the gun or protection for their masters. FYI, they are only good in doing what they are told to. Everybody knows about their loyalty and obedience too.

[7] Wangthoi was missing for three days during the agitation. He was finally found in Kakwa Police Station. Photo: A screen-grab from ISTV [8] The dogs are all over the street. An image from the archives of Manipuronline.com [9] The level of impotency was exposed when they had no guns [10] As if tear gas will save their masters. Photo from Epao / Shankar Khangembam


Image from Anonymous
ART of Revolution

In the hoopla, we have forgotten that there is a concept of parallel government in the province. For any domestic or community crisis, we do not go to the police station but publish ads in the newspapers that the concerned authority (read the self-styled office-bearers of any rebel organisation) should look into the matter. The police is just a burden. They have lost their respect a long time ago. We live in a police state with a democratic government for namesake. If there is any inspiration from them, it is the utter disregard for law. Yet, these issues cannot go on forever.     

POSTSCRIPT   From the perspective of a designer, the Manipur police’s website (http://manipurpolice.org/) is a literal garbage. And they use Comic Sans too! Precisely, it looks like a copy from a 1990s best-website list with HTML-coded fluttering flags and all. Do we need another reason? It is mentioned Web conceptualised, designed and maintained by Manipur Police Computer Centre; of course, another group of half-literate mutts, who studied O-level computer courses and had gotten a job after paying hefty amount of bribes. 

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