Imphal Review of Arts and Politics

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Hibu Tamang on being promoted to IGP rank. Batches being pinned by Delhi Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana and Spl Commissioner Smt Sundari Nanda.

How Delhi Police is Striving to be the Guardian of Northeast Residents in Delhi

“Delhi Police assures parents, elders and youth of the North East desirous to seek education or career opportunities in the National capital of complete safety and security. When in Delhi, dial special North East focused helpline number 1093 to reach us anytime and in case of any need. Delhi Police’s Special Police Unit for North East Region or SPUNER is the guardian of all North East people in Delhi”, says newly appointed nodal officer for North East people in Delhi, IGP Hibu Tamang, who himself hails from the land of the rising sun, Arunachal Pradesh.

Apart from being appointed as Nodal Officer of North East people in Delhi, Hibu Tamang, a 2004 batch IPS officer of AGMUT cadre, was also promoted to the rank of IGP recently in January this year in a ceremony presided over by Delhi Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana. In fact, a plethora of new steps and schemes have been launched by Asthana right from the time he took over in 2021 July end. These include merging Police stations with PCR leading to marked reduction in response to call time and avoiding duplication of efforts by police personnel, facility to lodge e-FIRs, introduction of helpline number 1930 to report cybercrimes, launch of a series of programmes to enhance safety of women and elderly, largescale use of technology in surveillance and traffic, concerted action against drug cartels and other illegal activities, crackdown on terrorist modules which led to nabbing of not only terror supporters of  Kashmiri, ISIS and Khalistani groups but also of the so called Commander-in-chief of Manipur’s Kuki National Front, namely, Mangkholam Kipgen, among others. Ensuring safety and security of North East people in Delhi however remains a top priority, Asthana asserts.

Once a rarity in Delhi Police, today the force has over a thousand North East personnel in its rolls. These boys and girls from the North East were employed through special recruitment drives conduced in 2016 and 2018, as per recommendation of the Bezbaruah committee report. “I am going to propose more recruitments from the North East states via more such recruitment drives in the future”, Hibu Tamang promises. Tamang had joined Arunachal Police in 1992 and had served in the state before his switch to central force AGMUT cadre in 2004 and his posting in Delhi in 2015.

Hibu Tamang

Most recruits from the North East who were recruited in 2016 and 2018 however came to the National capital directly. They are not only working diligently and shoulder to shoulder with their counterparts from other parts of the country raising awareness about the region in the police force, but also their very presence in Delhi Police has made them ambassadors of the North East and their respective states in the National Capital. These North East personnel in Delhi Police are posted in various districts of Delhi and are handling all kinds of duties.

“No, the recruits from North East states in Delhi Police are not just posted in the SPUNER unit. They are rendering all kinds of duties. The SPUNER unit comprises of a mixed team including personnel from the North East and from other states of the country so that the personnel can learn from one another and also help North East people with their mixed experiences”, Hibu Tamang says.

The SPUNER cell too is unique in many ways. Formed on 14th February 2014 as per the recommendation of the Bezbaruah committee report, to specifically address racial discrimination and other troubles faced by the people of the North East in Delhi, the SPUNER cell has the distinction of being the only specific region focused cell in Delhi Police. With over 80 dedicated police personnel coming from the North East as well as other parts of the country, SPUNER has always risen up to provide all round help and service to the ever- increasing number of people from the eight North Eastern states who chose to make Delhi their second home.

“I can surely and confidently vouch that racial discrimination against North East people has fallen drastically since SPUNER was formed, and today one can say, it is negligible”, informs Hibu Tamang, pointing that today the average complaints of North East people in Delhi are more general in nature, including those of “mobile snatching, salaries not being paid especially in the unorganized sector, landlords not refunding security deposits, landlords charging hefty electricity bills, petty altercations etc. These may sound like small problems for others but for North East people who are in Delhi far from their homes, these are big issues. However, we are able to solve most of the problems in record time.”

While most of these problems are communicated to SPUNER via helpline number 1093, some prefer to personally visit the SPUNER office. A new swanky Delhi Police building in Nanakpura, Moti Bagh today houses the SPUNER office and all are welcome to personally visit and lodge their complaint or meet the police personnel there. Even Hibu Tamang himself is very accessible and available to North East people. The huge populace of North East people living in Delhi, a rough estimate conducted by state Bhawans puts the figure between 4 – 5 lakh people, consider the affable Tamang as their brother and elder who they can ring or approach anytime.

Helping the SPUNER and North East Assistance Team (NEAT) in Delhi Police are three dedicated vehicles which are perpetually on the run, either for grievance redressal or for patrol duty in pockets of the National Capital which have a large concentration of North East people.

Apart from tackling law and order problems, SPUNER is rendering help in many other sectors, including helping North East people living in Delhi to get voter IDs; empanelment of a team of advocates who offer free service to North east people who need legal help in Delhi, holding medical camps and so on. In fact, a whopping number of around 50 hospitals in Delhi NCR are offering discounts between 10 to 20 per cent to North east people who seek treatment at the behest of Delhi Police.

Additionally, Delhi Police has appointed a large team of Delhi Police North East Representatives (DPNERs) from each of the eight states of the North East. These DPNERs are boys and girls from the region who volunteer to act as bridge between the people of their respective states and Delhi Police.

“Often the people from North East find it difficult to communicate their problems to Delhi Police personnel on account of their poor Hindi and other problems. The DPNERs are well versed in local languages of their respective communities and states, as well as Hindi and English. So they are able to act as interpreters and help the aggrieved people to lodge FIRs or they also solve small problems which do not need police help”, Tamang informs us, adding that at present SPUNER is in the process of updating their records of DPNERs appointing new DPNERs as many of the earlier appointed DPNERs had gone back to their native places after completing their studies or due to classes being held online nowadays or for pandemic related issues and other reasons, so new DPNERs have to be appointed.

He took the opportunity of talking to us to invite interested North East people in Delhi to send him their ID proofs and resumes if they are inclined to work as DPNERs and help both Delhi Police and North East people living in Delhi.

“ Becoming a DPNER is a superb way to see police functioning at close quarters”, Tamang wraps up his interaction with us.

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