Enforcing the ‘law’ has always been a balancing act in a place like Nagaland. And when it comes to laws that have for the most part quiet visibly proved futile, their enforcement becomes even more difficult.
The enforcement agencies do what they are required to do as long as the law exists, and their efforts, however parochial or indeed sincere, are perceived with disdain and ridicule.
On the afternoon of June 30, what should have been a routine liquor raid turned into a melee between civilians and the police. The altercation led to a Sub Divisional Police Officer being manhandled and a few policemen being injured.
“There was a standoff between the police and a group of people, during which a few of our boys, including the SDPO were manhandled,” said the Mokokchung police said, adding that approximately 70 cases of IMFL was recovered.
The civilians who were involved in the incident meanwhile pointed to the cop’s inability to procure a warrant for raiding the place, with some alleging that the police had baton charged the public.
The Police have denied that a baton charge order was given and said that the situation was eventually brought under control. It was further stated that the police can raid a place when it gets specific inputs about a location holding contrabands.
Notwithstanding the circumstances of the incident, the June 30 altercation was the embodiment of a culture of mistrust and scorn that has developed between the public and the law enforcement agencies when it comes to the Nagaland Liquor Total Prohibition Act.
A lot has been said and written, both for and against the act—from the historical realities that first led to the campaign for prohibition and the religious overtones that surround it to the creeping overtones of nanny state-ism, the economic arguments and whether things have been made either better or worse.
While these arguments have failed to result in any tangible decision with regard to prohibition, the schism between a large number of people and law enforcers continue to increase. The police will continue with their raids (as the law prescribes them to), while the public will continue to troll the ridiculousness of what they perceive as a farcical situation tainted with double standards.
Unless there is clear resolution to prohibition, this ludicrous cycle is bound to continue until public frustrations manifest to more real life law and order situations like the one witnessed on June 30.
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