October 19, 2016

Fallen officers and unanswered questions

[ Tongam Rina ]
Within a span of a month, Arunachal Pradesh Police lost two young promising officers under tragic circumstances.
DSP Bomto Kamdak was killed while on the line of duty sending shock waves across the state. Barely a month later, Hano Chatung was found dead, in his police uniform while on his way to work.
Both of them were young, full of promises and dreams for a safer state. They were sons, brothers, friends, husbands and young fathers. All tragically cut short.
While the families mourn, those on social networking sites have not been mindful of the pain the families were going through by posting pictures that were clearly intrusive and hurtful. Many perhaps have done it in good intent but one wish that a line was drawn. No one seemed to care about the pain the family members, friends and colleagues were going through as one disturbing picture after the other was posted. In both the cases, families had appealed that pictures be not uploaded. Privacies of families were not protected at all even after the appeals. But in this race of instant likes and comments on social networking sites, it is perhaps hopeless to even expect users will be mindful.
While the experts on social networking sites drew their own conclusions, the state government clearly still has no clue what has to be done for the fallen heroes.
Officer Kamdak was awarded the Arunachal Ratna. Monetary help and a job were promised for the wife of the martyr. One wonders whether these promises have been fulfilled or it is still caught in bureaucratic hassles. Even after passage of two months, there is no clue yet, forget about arrest of Tagyung Yangfo, the man accused of killing the officer. More than anything, the family will want a closure to the case but when the government and the department itself has failed to trace the killer of one of its own officers, the message is not only demoralising to the police force, other employees but common citizens like you and I.
Hano Chatung’s heartbroken father is still waiting for an acknowledgment from the police department. He has asked some very difficult questions in a state where it takes a lot of courage to seek answers. The home department finally woke up only after a silent march was scheduled on Tuesday. After weeks of wait, the family was forced to go to press with the details of pressure that officer had and was going through. These details are explosive and call for a high level enquiry. Officers in the home department will have to pay a price for their inaction when the officer was clearly calling for help and suggestion. Instead of help, it appears that department was trying to indict him in a super sensitive case involving the states of Assam and Arunachal. Family can never be compensated for their tragedy but one wishes that govt make the pain lesser and respond to the questions left behind by the officer through his applications for help from his own department.
The least the state can do is reassure, if not concrete answers. Unfortunately, even reassurances are not forthcoming.



September 21, 2016

Elite and their games

[ Tongam Rina ]
So the inevitable political drama happened with the shifting of loyalty, based on monetary requirement. One can’t call it shifting of loyalty as the move was more need based. Yours truly maybe excused for not taking the names of the political parties because after a point when it gets too repetitive, it gets very confusing.
And it would be a sin to associate the word loyalty when we are talking about Arunachalee politicians as they have given an entirely different meaning to the word. We have seen how politicians not only make buffoons of themselves but the entire state, all in the name of funds for the state. The only good thing that seems to have come out of the entire farcical exercise is Chief Minister Pema Khandu’s honest admission that cash strapped Arunachal need to keep the centre in good humour, hoping for funds. It’s a different thing that he contradicted himself by appointing a whopping number of Parliamentary Secretaries.
While all games are played in the name of the state and its people, the development paradigm has remained the same; no visible development or employment opportunities but creation of elite group of moneyed and the landed, consisting of politicians, contractors and many unbelievably rich government employees.
Policy makers have the ultimate luck on their side as Arunachalees are mute spectators because common citizens do not have the courage to ask for accountability.
The elite have literally muted the voice of the citizens because money and power intimidates.
Who talks about merit and accountability? Perhaps, those who have failed to get a job even when they could have topped the written examination for employment if it was not for the mobile phones allowed inside the exam halls. Rests are too busy making money in the form of extortion and by carrying out substandard contract works while a vast section of govt employees and politicians are literally looting the public exchequer. There are very few exceptions; the villagers who continue to toil in their Jhum fields day in and out, with no clue about govt subsidies. Jhum cultivation, practiced by majority of Arunachalees, based on traditional knowledge for centuries is not even acknowledged, forget about policies and programmes to make it more vibrant and economically viable.
But then the state needs cash, according to the politicians and bureaucrats, not policies or programmes.
Tourism could have been an option to generate employment. But the state policy is limited to roping in a certain John Abraham and building wayside amenities, which can’t be found by a normal tourist.
As if the joke played in our name was not enough, came the news of appointment of parliamentary secretaries. Apart from procuring more cars, building offices, illegal appointment of support staffs, one wonders what good these people will do for the state. Rs 3700 cr of debt is certainly not enough to make the govt see or make sense.



September 14, 2016

The wait starts

[ Tongam Rina ]
People of the state woke up to the terrible news of firing at Sangrungwa in East Kameng on August 13 where Arunachal Pradesh Police Service officer DSP Bomto Kamdak was killed. A villager was also killed while another was left seriously injured during the cross fire, as reported between the police and Tagyung Yangfo, a habitual offender who had escaped from jail.
The govt has since honoured the officer who laid down his life while in line of duty and announced compensation for his family. For the family, the pain of losing a dear one is never going to go away.
To the solace of the family, there has been immense outpour of anger at the mindless killing. Candle lit marches have been taken out across the state seeking justice for the late officer.
On that fateful day, another family lost a beloved one. Sai Bagang, who was killed in the crossfire, left behind his children and wife. These young children were in no way responsible for the actions of the adults and they must be given a fair chance by the authorities.
But even after a month, the police is yet to trace the whereabouts of Tagyung and a villager.
It is unlikely that they will return/surrender soon fearing retribution from the villagers but not from the police.
It is a fact that criminals in the state have no fear or regard for the police or the judiciary. They know that they can manipulate the system easily.
Most of the time Police, even though overworked and understaffed does its job well by arresting criminals, making fair investigations and charge-sheeting but like elsewhere in the country, judiciary in the state takes a long time to deliver justice.
Arunachal remains one of the few states in the country with abysmal conviction rate because of partial separation of judiciary from executive resulting in massive rise in crimes each year. This is a state where people get away with all kinds of crime including murder. While some cases are solved instantly on “mutual understandings” and compromise but for those who choose to wait for judiciary to intervene, the painful wait goes on for years.
It is common knowledge that criminals are harboured by politicians and other influential people, the reason why we have so many habitual offenders in the state. Whenever there is a political power struggle or even a street fight, these criminals who should be inside jails are the ones who are used as volunteers. And not surprisingly, these same people who use criminals as they deem fit will be the first ones to come out in public to condemn crimes, forgetting that criminals are empowered by such despicable behaviour.
Today, criminals have no fear for police or the judiciary because they know system can be bended as and when needed.
While we wait and hope that justice is delivered, the poignant words posted on a social networking site by Tomo Basar, the father in law of Late Kamdak is a powerful reminder to all of us.
…”By taking over this fight as yours, you have made the people those who matter to think about the need for establishing rule of law in the state ever more seriously. May the light from all these candles is consolidated into a flame to burn down the might of the criminals. Together we can do this. The people of my generation had inherited a very peaceful state from our ancestors; let us persevere to leave a better place for the future generations. It is in our hands to make our place most liveable one”.