Letters

Where is the love?

Editor, 

Why is the MLP so easy to hate? Police hate here in Meghalaya, it seems, is not just a public relations problem — it’s a survival problem.  

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Just recently, Mawlai MLA Brightstarwell Marbaniang moved a special motion during the Assembly session on police brutality during the public hearing of Meghalaya Cements Ltd at Thangskai. The MLA accused the police department of mistreating people and stated that “the incident at Thangskai is similar to the incident in Mawlai on August 13, 2021, where the former HNLC leader Cheristerfield Thangkhiew was killed by our men in an alleged encounter at his house.” He also stated that “the inquiry commission itself has termed the action of the police team that raided Thangkhiew’s residence as thoughtless and excessive use of force.” North Shillong MLA Adelbert Nongrum even named the police officers involved in beating up protesters, including women during the Thangskai incident.  

I know I can’t walk a mile in your shoes; I am part of a hated minority. This minority is subject to unprovoked violence and yet prosecutions are frequently denied when they are victims of violent crime. Not infrequently they get prosecuted for merely defending themselves. And while most people hold their tongues when criticizing groups in front of a member of that group, the same is not true of my tribe. Criticism, in fact, is often the first thing that confronts us in conversation. With all the political correctness that has put a lid on slang, pejorative, and hurtful words, even some of our finest citizens have no reservations about saying they hate us. 

A few days back, Meghalaya Monitor published an article Meghalaya sees rise in Hacktivism by one Joseph M. Kharkongor attacking and criticising the department. Now we all know who the real author of this article is; so the fake name isn’t working. It seems six months of jail time isn’t enough for this cyber-terrorist; perhaps more is needed. My question to the Editor and this hacker with a fake name is, who doesn’t make mistakes? I’m sure no one is perfect; and the idea that the police spy on civilians unnecessarily is unfounded. It’s easy to just sit in front of a computer and hack your way stealing documents; even our young dynamic IT engineers from the CBI and CID can do that. Ever considered coming out in public and confronting problems head-on like the brave policemen of Meghalaya? Speaking of stealing documents, I’m sure the CBI would love to grill both the author and publisher of this article — messing around with stolen National Security data won’t get you accolades, you know… But it would sure win you a cell at the nearest prison and correctional services facility. 

I’m sure many will immediately challenge the thought that policemen can claim that they are labelled or treated unfairly. We indeed hold positions of power. Still, a look at our subculture can show many areas where we as individual police officers have a very confined position legally, culturally, and organizationally. Any power that we do possess is that which we mediate and administer on behalf of others. But many people are jealous of the power and inequity symbolized by the uniform and stars on our shoulders. This is not a media-bashing statement. They can only report from the sources they find. When events happen, even those that seem normal and neutral in our world, we are often not allowed to narrate or explain the event. No CSWO or KSU is stepping in to speak on behalf of the police. We all know that raw videos and angry relatives and activists without a police perspective are bad news for the police.   

I’m afraid these thoughts are just the beginning of the police hate issue. Without being antagonistic or divisive, our safety on the street and our survival in the courtroom are severely compromised by this prejudice. What can we do? Seriously! Why is the MLP so easy to hate?  

Yours etc,
Name withheld on request
A retired police officer  

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