Insurgency has ebbed in Assam, and the State Police is no longer running after militants. So it’s time to concentrate on solving the people’s problems. People should feel confident while approaching the police for their problems. The road map which I am going to prepare will help the State police follow a civil path
— JN Choudhury, Assam DGP
By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, June 21: Will the Assam Police now graduate to a people-friendly force from being mostly a counter-insurgency operator ever since militancy reared its ugly head in the State in the form of ULFA?
Recently Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi laid stress on ‘‘policing with a human face’’.
DGP JN Choudhury is following the same line. Talking exclusively to The Sentinel, Choudhury said that allegations were often made that the Assam Police was not a people-friendly force and so there was need for changing that image.
“The Assam Police has several minus points, all of which need to be corrected. But it is not an easy task. The State Government has to invest in the police force to make it more agile and efficient. To make it a reality, I am going to prepare a road map for the Assam Police. The road map will contain a five-point agenda, including one exclusively for Guwahati,” said Choudhury.
On the issue of the slow investigation process of the Assam Police as compared to that by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and other investigating agencies, the DGP clarified: “It’s true to an extent that the investigation process of the Assam Police is slow compared to the CBI. But the shortage of manpower in the State’s police force is the most important factor that contributes to the slow investigation process.”
According to Choudhury, around 12,000 Indian Penal Code (IPC) cases are pending at 22 police stations and six police outposts in Guwahati, and around 100 investigating officers (IOs) are there to deal with the cases. “The situation is such that an IO, on an average, has to deal with 120 cases. Apart from investigation, an IO has to do other works also. So, naturally, the investigation process will be slower,” he said, adding: “The CBI and other investigating agencies concentrate only on investigation.”
Agreeing to the need of regular training for the police force, the DGP said that unorganized crimes were frequently taking place in Guwahati. “Due to lack of proper monitoring of Guwahati’s floating population, unorganized crimes are taking place in the city. The total manpower strength of all the police stations in Guwahati is currently around 550, whereas the city’s population is around 7 to 8 lakh. Hundreds of labourers and other such people regularly come to Guwahati from the nearby districts in search of jobs. There is a need of proper documentation of these people,” said the DGP, adding that there is little coordination between the police units of those neighbouring districts in regard to sharing of criminal records with the Guwahati police.
He further said that criminals let out on bail were also involved in crimes taking place in Guwahati and its neighbouring areas. “To speed up the investigation process, setting up of a special CID cell exclusively for Guwahati is also under consideration,” he added.
“Insurgency has ebbed in Assam, and the State Police is no longer running after militants. So it’s time to concentrate on solving the people’s problems. People should feel confident while approaching the police for their problems. The road map which I am going to prepare will help the State police follow a civil path,” he added.
Official records reveal that crime rates have spiralled in the State in the last six years. Check this: There were 5,907 registered cases in 2006; 6,338 in 2007; 7,455 in 2008; 7,320 in 2009; 9,237 in 2010; and 11,326 in 2011.