Friday, March 1, 2024

Law and order

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The recent arms haul in Ri Bhoi district is a pre-emptive step by the state police. These arms and ammunitions would have been used against innocent citizens and the police. The easy availability of arms has given a fillip to militancy in Meghalaya. The state police could do with a more effective intelligence sharing system to pre-empt the entry of arms to the State. The law and order machinery is stretched to the limits in trying to contain the ongoing agitation from organisations demanding the Inner Line Permit. Then there is a full blown militancy in the Garo Hills. Guerrilla operations are tough because it is often not possible to know what the enemy’s next move is. Of course this requires a specialised intelligence system which at the moment seems elusive in Meghalaya.

There is a shortage of police personnel in the anti-militancy operations in Garo Hill. Hence deployment of the same combat team without adequate time for recovery from fatigue is telling on the men and their performance. The police leadership does not seem to have recognised these fault-lines in anti-militancy operations. Not many of our police personnel have undergone counter-insurgency operations training. In fact if they were to be sent for such training there would be a huge vacuum in the force. At this time it is important to get a replenishment of adequate strike force. The police cannot be seen to be reactive. They need to be on pro-active mode. Besides striking at the militants other measures also need to be put in place such as choking their source of funds. Alternatively the State Police force needs to build up a separate cadre which is trained in hard core CI Ops. While we do have the Special Operations Team (SOT) they need better weapons training and also psychological warfare tactics to take on the GNLA which is itself waging a psychological-ideological war as a means to very ignoble ends which is to build up a corpus to continue to access easy money without doing much. Clearly there is a need for the Home Department to gear itself up and for the top officials to be seen to empathise with the critical situation that the men in the jungles are undergoing.

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