Fighting Crime

The recent wave of perpetual criminal activities that have struck Naga society is a grim reminder that criminalization of the society has reached a new phase of brutality and arrogance as far as the Naga experience is concerned. These activities have struck a very uneasy and testing chord deep in the Naga mind; and it is one that neither the government nor the people can afford to ignore anymore. Denial will only breed more criminalization of society. It is quite evident that the faultline between doubt and certainty and the existing space that separates the so-called underground and overground is being exploited well by the criminal mind. The rising criminal activities therefore demand that a clearer distinction is drawn between political action and criminal activities. If not, the criminal mind will only continue to abuse the space.
Equally important is the need for the Nagaland state government to wake up and initiate a serious and honest introspection into its policies as well. It is the paramount duty and responsibility of any government to ensure and provide public safety. The mere fact that people no longer feel safe within the confines of their own homes is a matter of crucial concern, which no government can ignore or just wish away. If a government is unable to ensure the safety of its own citizens, it loses the public trust on which they have been entrusted to govern. The government therefore needs to take steps and measures to instill confidence in the hearts and minds of its citizens; and to prevail over the prevailing air of insecurity and fear.
While various initiatives have been made by the present state government to promote policies around development, it has not fully appreciated the fact that the safety of its citizens to freely enjoy the right to life is one of the pillars required for the development of the society. The government must rethink its security policies in terms of ensuring safety to the common man and woman. For too long, security has only been perceived in the context of counter-insurgency; while not adequately focusing on ensuring the right to life of its citizens. In other words, security must be perceived from within the broader framework of human security. The urgency of the now is providing fertile grounds to initiate the much needed review and transformation of its policy towards enabling security.
Two urgent interventions need to be made by the state which involves long term and immediate needs. The long term intervention must focus on greater research and identifying the factors that lead to criminalization of society. In this the issues of injustice, poverty, unequal growth, unjust development, inequality and break down of society will have to be addressed, since they form the core factors that lead to criminalization. The more immediate needs revolve around restructuring the criminal system, in effect the legal system; and modernizing the police force into a more professional and dynamic institution. To successfully fight criminalization, it is of vital importance to see that both the legal system and police force undergo serious transformation in Nagaland. It would be futile if only the enforcing agency is effectively functioning, while the prosecuting body is not.
Because of the seriousness of unemployment in Nagaland, there is a tendency to turn to the police forces for employment generation. This policy could have negative long term consequences which will affect the discipline, professionalism and efficiency of the police force. Considering the new and future trend and nature of criminal activities, the situation demands not a quantitative but a sustained qualitative approach. This should include a special crime unit comprising of police officers trained and equipped to deal with sophisticated crime. The special crime unit should be professionally trained and must have access to forensics, psycho analysis, research, computerized data base and investigating skills. Only time will tell, if the government will take a proactive step to secure the safety of its citizens.