Delhi Police Recruits Northeastern Youths as Special Officers to Check Attacks
NEW DELHI: The recent spurt in crime against people from the Northeast in Delhi has made the police revive an age-old method of policing where representatives from a particular community are made special police officers to help in policing.
So far, Delhi police has recruited 41 such special officers who are from the Northeastern states. They have been issued identity cards and assigned various responsibilities. Five people have been selected from Arunachal Pradesh, five from Assam, seven from Manipur, four from Meghalaya, seven from Mizoram, two from Nagaland, five from Tripura and three people from Darjeeling in West Bengal.
These officers report to Joint Commissioner of Police (Training), Robin Hibu, the face of the Northeastern community in Delhi Police. “After police receives a distress call from a person from the Northeast, the local police along with the special officers, who are from the same state as the victim, reach the spot,” said a senior police officer. These special officers are working professionals who have taken up this additional duty help their community.
Last week, four youths from the Northeast were found dead in the Capital. The police sought help of these special officers to inform the families of the victims and relatives. At times, these officers also help in investigating a case.
In the past, such special officers were appointed by officers of the Deputy Commissioner of Police rank on recommendation of the Station House Officer. “The idea behind appointing these officers was to bridge the gap between police and citizens which helped in maintaining law and order and also gather intelligence,” said Delhi Police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat.
These officers were given Delhi Police ID cards and were allowed to directly report to senior cops. They were even called in to attend several meetings. Initially, it worked out and these special officers helped in policing in a positive way.
However, eventually this practice grew corrupt. SHOs and senior cops started appointing these special officers on their whims. “Many cases of corruption came into light over a period following which the idea of appointing special officers was phased out in 1998,” said a police officer.
But the need to revive this practice grew strong given the rise in crime and racial attacks against people from the Northeast in the last two years. Police were facing problems such as communication and coordination with the community. After the murder of a 19-year-old student from Arunachal Pradesh, Nido Tania, in January this year, discrimination against Indians from the Northeast became a topic of fierce national debate with the Delhi police receiving severe flak for being unable to prevent such attacks.
There are some two lakh people from the Northeast, who are living in Delhi. From 27 cases in 2011, the number of cases lodged by Northeastern people in Delhi has gone up to 73 in 2013. Till November this year, police have registered 145 cases. The Delhi police received total 853 calls this year, out of which 645 were of criminal incidents. Out of 645, 145 cases were registered. The maximum calls received (259) were related to incidents of quarrel. Cops have registered 56 cases of eve teasing and 10 cases of rape this year.