The curious charm of the security cell

[ Amar Sangno ]
In the course of the usual events, one sometimes wonders why every policeman is so inclined to join and to be attached with the security cell. What does it offer?
Questions pass through the layman’s mind when they behold suited-booted security men with sophisticated assault rifles dangling from their hips.
And the answers are not far to seek.
Apparently, the security cell of the state’s police department is a ‘lucrative cell’ that police personnel dream of being a part of.
Sources revealed on condition of anonymity that the cell is already crowded with a surplus of personnel, and the numbers only swell up with each passing year. It is said there are more than seven hundred personnel, from both the IRBn and the civil police, in the security cell.
It is also learnt that more than two hundred in-service personnel are waiting in the queue, armed with recommendation letters from various ministers and MLAs. A top police officer revealed, on condition of anonymity, that recommendation letters are clogging up the cell, and the requests are turning more or less into a nuisance.
An unattractive salary and hardships on field duty are the main reasons why every policeman seeks the comfort zone and the light duties in the security cell.
“No policeman wants to be posted in a hard belt; they all want the comfort zone. Therefore everybody is after the security cell,” said an IRBn man who had himself applied to the cell some years back.
The requisite criteria to be in the security cell is that the person must have undergone National Security Guard (NSG) training and should have received counter-insurgency training from a recognized academy, for instance the North-East Police Academy, Shillong. Apart from the eligibility criteria, physical fitness and age are also vital components for entry to the cell.
However, it is reported that there are hundreds of personnel in the cell who do not possess the requisite certificates, and nor do they need to, as they have been attached and inducted at the whims and fancies of their political bosses and top-ranking police officers.
Surprisingly, many are on the verge of superannuation, but are still strutting around with VIPs – potbellies out, daring onlookers to raise a question on their fitness level. At the same time, many deserving candidates are reportedly being sidelined and deprived of a shot at the security cell.
“I have undergone NSG training and counter-insurgency training, but still my application was kept pending,” protested a policeman who has a Black Commando Course certificate.
On being asked, Security Cell SP, Tojo Karga, refused to divulge the strength of the cell.
If the reports are true, the lucrative cell may not be actually be home to the best, as the vague eligibility criteria and the dubious selection process may put VIPs’ lives in danger. It is to be hoped that a strict selection procedure would be followed to at least keep the VIPs safe.