GUWAHATI: Manipur’s decorated lady police officer Thounaojam Brinda has stuck to her guns, reiterating that the drug business in the state thrives thanks to alleged support and involvement of a combined force of politicians, militants, drug lords and officials. In an affidavit filed in the Manipur High Court last week, she had alleged that Chief Minister N Biren Singh had “pressured” her to let off an arrested drug lord. She lamented that she was targeted by the government even though she had put in her best effort to fight the menace.
“The drug business – smuggling and production – in Manipur is run by a combined force of powerful politicians, militants, drug lords, top police officials and bureaucrats who manipulate the police administration and judicial institutions to cover up crimes and escape punishment,” the 2012 batch Manipur Police Service officer told this newspaper.
Brinda is facing a criminal contempt case for allegedly showing her “middle finger” to the special judge of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (ND&PS) Act – a charge that she already refuted – and for her remarks on Facebook allegedly undermining the judiciary after drug lord Lhukhosei Zou was granted three-week bail by the ND&PS court.
Brinda, serving as Additional SP of Narcotics and Affairs of Border Bureau (NAB), and her team had arrested Zou and seven others in June 2018 and seized 4.595 kg of heroin, 2,80,200 “World is Yours” tablets, Rs 57.18 lakh cash etc. Zou, a BJP leader, was then the chairman of Autonomous District Council, Chandel. According to Brinda, she had dutifully supervised the investigation and resisted challenges to bring the case to the court with the hope that justice would be delivered. However, “they” (government) transferred the former Special Public Prosecutor, and Officer-in-Charge, NAB. She too was transferred without an assigned duty.
She has concluded that the present approach towards solving the menace of drug abuse was never going to work. “I believe there will be an inevitable catastrophe to the future of our children. I have to give everything I can to prevent this. But, people should be truly informed because we need informed public opinion and participation for a solution.” After studying at a convent school, Brinda graduated in Zoology honours. She is also a law graduate and practised law before joining the police. She is also trained in permaculture.
A mother of four, she wants to ensure a better future for the children of Manipur. “I love Manipur and want to see her present and future glow brighter. How can we do that without healthy youth and children? Only the collective voice of mothers can save the children,” said Brinda. She said from what she observed, studied, and experienced, the genesis of the problem was recruitment and training. She said people have lost their trust in the force and do not view cops as good people who would serve and protect.
“Manipur Police is one of the most militarised polices. People don’t expect see ‘civil’ behaviour of being friendly and helpful from them. They have a brutal past with a series of fake encounters as listed by the Supreme Court,” she said. The police are executives. They implement law into action. “But how can lower officers function independently when there are pressures from above,” she asked.
She lay thrust on police reforms to keep pace with changing circumstances but added the reforms require good and committed persons in the legislative power. Stating that serving people is the motto of every cop, she said that the struggle must go on despite all hurdles. Asked about her goal, Brinda said: “I want to save my people. I want to protect the ecology and promote humanity, leave a better society for the children. My spirit has always been for Manipur. I have been doing everything I can and will for the land and its people”.