How to Torture a Man and Loot Him
This write-up is elaborated from a news report published in two of the major English dailies, based and printed in Imphal on 23 Oct 2015:
Man Claims Police CDOs of Looting Him of Rs Six Lakhs
IMPHAL FREE PRESS
Lilong Protests Robbery
STATE POLICE COMMANDO TORTURED AND ROBBED BUSINESSMAN IN BROAD DAYLIGHT
Along the national highway 102, less than 15 km to the south of the capital Imphal, there lies Lilong, a Muslim-dominated area in the district of Thoubal. Nothing is related to religion today but it is a shame on humanity. Security personnel belonging to the notorious police commando robbed a businessman after torturing him for almost a day. It will not be a surprise if the police ringmasters do not utter a word because that’s how they work: help us become a military state as the paramilitary forces are insufficient.
The other day, it was morning, 22 October 2015, when Md Ata-ur-Rahman had to make some quick decisions. He heard that several agitators have declared ‘another’ highway blockade, as if the highways are, to use a local expression, their fathers’ property. This means the thirty-year-old businessman has to stock up the supplies for his hardware shop, which he has set up at Lilong Bazaar and he needed to hurry.
Before noon he decided to leave his home at Lilong Haoreibi Turel Ahanbi for Thangal Bazaar and Mantripukhri, where he has his dealers and lenders. The sudden announcement of the blockade was annoying, to say the least, but for Rahman, there was something nastier in store than the blockade. To get the supplies and pay off his debt, he took INR six lakhs in cash with him, presumably safe and secure. However, he never reached the place where he had intended to go. Now he is recuperating at the Noor Hospital and Research Institute in Lilong; and his money, phone and some other personal belongings are all missing, all gone.
Was it a sort of haste-makes-waste case?
Highly unlikely, because Rahman had taken a public transport, as always, disembarked in front of Johnstone School and headed towards Thangal Bazaar taking the Old Assembly Road on foot. Everything was unexceptional but well and fine according to the typical unhurried style of Imphal. It was around 10:00AM.
However, before he knew it he halted—in a classic case of corroborating Louis Althusser’s concept of interpellation—when a few police commandos were barking at the passers-by.
The commandos asked him about his identity to which he responded promptly. Afterwards, he also told them about his purpose of visit. To hell with privacy. To hell with democracy. To tell the truth, he mentioned he had to buy iron rods from a particular shop in Thangal Bazaar, which was located a few steps away from the frisking area, and a few bags of cement from another shop in Mantripukhri.
For reasons best known to them, the commandos got aggressive and started hurling the choicest of words to Rahman. It was when he told them that he was just a small businessman that things got out of control. He was hit on the face and next, they found the substantial amount of money in his carry bag. Then, a couple of them kept slapping him while the others pointed their fingers at him, charging he was a naharol, or an insurgent, who had collected extortion money from some shops in Paona Bazaar.
He repeated what the money was meant for and that he had no connection with any rebel group or whatsoever; but the police commandos had apparently formed their own decision beforehand. Rahman was blindfolded and asked to sit on the pillion on a motorcycle, but not before grilling him to admit that he was a naharol, while one of them took out his cell phone, proudly declaring he is going to record the confession. Stupidity has got to have a limit, in contrast to Einstein’s view of it as infinite just like the case of Universe.
What started a normal day for Rahman was gradually turning into a nightmare and it was not going to end soon. After riding for a few minutes, they reached a house, where they pushed and threw him in and took off his blindfold. He had no idea where they were. Yet it was not even a consolation to get rid of the blindfold because, in next to no time, they tied his hands and legs, and shoved a pill down his throat.
Soon he dozed off.
When he regained consciousness, Rahman heard the phone in his pocket ringing. He wriggled and managed to get hold of the phone. The ringtone had stopped but he dialed the last number from the call logs and much to his relief, it was one of his close friends’ numbers. Suddenly, the commandos barged in and snatched his phone before he could tell his friend anything about the humiliation.
Immediately, they started beating him black and blue. It was clearly an excruciating third-degree torture for no apparent crime. Even if someone commits a crime, there is a thing called the Rule of Law that obviously the police is hopelessly ignorant about. Where are the masters of these street dogs? What have they been teaching their pathetic foot soldiers?
He was made to lie upside down and the commandos rolled a stick on his back. When he pleaded for mercy, the personnel were taunting him. We can only add that it does not take long for people in the police service, especially in Manipur, to become a sadist.
This reminded me of my friend, Gum Boot—we used to call him this name because his name was too hard to pronounce. It was during a Yaosang festival when he was picked up by the commandos around 12 years ago. His lifeless body was found three days later and the police informed family members and the press that they had found a hand grenade in his wallet. Yes, a grenade in his wallet. He was not a kind of man/boy who would kowtow to the dogs but we lost him. The commandos are still lurking around, obeying their masters, who are either lost in some orgy at Babupura or busy collecting bribes from the public or maybe, they are occupied, chalking out the plan to give a free rein to state terrorism.
Back to yesterday, time became non-essential for Rahman but some moments later, he was hurled on a four-wheeler vehicle and was driven blindfold for 15–20 minutes. It was already night-time. When the vehicle stopped and they removed the eye cover, he saw the place appeared like the foothills of an unfamiliar hillock. One of the commandos shot two rounds of fire close to Rahman’s side and ordered him to flee—he did not but begged them to spare his life.
In that instant he saw that the vehicle was a Maruti A-Star. He could hardly notice its colour and for him, it seemed the whole universe was working according to the commands of the state security personnel. Rightly so, at their will, he was stopped, beaten, picked up, gagged and blindfolded, and all he could do was just survive—and again from around the foothills, he was blindfolded, muffled and gagged as they had wished. Rahman was literally taken for a ride for another 15–20 minutes again.
|Master of Puppets|
Before he could understand this horrendous experience, they untied him and kicked him out of the car after yapping that it was the place near the cement shop where he wanted to go. He knew the locality and realised it was close to former MP Rishang Keishing’s house at Mantripukhri. The car rushed off but he did note that the Mruti A-Star was of silver colour and had no registration number.
Rahman managed to creep and crawl to a nearby shop, from where he informed his family members. The clock had struck 6 when he was waiting for them.
They admitted him to the JNIMS emergency ward, where he was given first aid and discharged around 1:00AM. However, his breathing problem, fatigue and muscle pain continued unabated, so he was admitted again, this time, to the Noor Hospital and Research Institute, located closer to his house in Lilong.
According to Rahman’s statement, there were four personnel in police uniform, out of whom he could figure out three names from their nameplates: James, Ratan and Bishworjit. Two of them had pistols and the other two were carrying AK rifles.
A public meeting was held at Lilong Bazaar yesterday. The meeting strongly condemned the police department for the inaction. It also demanded the dismissal of the four police commandos and to return the looted amount to the victim by October 23. Lilong is all set for a road blockade and a series of protests.
POSTSCRIPT Somewhere around the Thoubal district on NH 102, in this season of Meraa, a few lovelorn people could not get enough of the ever-descending cold days, soft breeze and verdant green fields that glisten to their best in twilight hours. However, in reality, this is just a cover for the madness. Even nature has turned a blind eye and it must surely have its reasons for the indifference, while it does offer as usual what it supposes to be.
The insanity has been spreading like a drop of ink on a small glass bowl of water in this part of the world. The inimitable full moon on Meraa would only remind of the prospective beauty inherent in the land, but which has been fucked up beyond any recognition by the people.
The full moon is four days short; but then who cares. In the region, there has never been any shortage of wild animal instincts in public life, in full strength and at regular interval of time. If we rank us, we are only trailing behind the state and non-state actors in this department of pre-history.
In Praise of the Manipur Police Commando
Police Protocol in Pictures